What’s on the ballot: Florida’s Amendment 2 would raise minimum wage to $15

Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:38 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - In “Your Voice, Your Vote”, we are just nine days out from election day. We here at ABC7 want to make sure you are prepared when you fill out that ballot -especially when it comes to casting your vote on the proposed amendments.

Amendment 2 would approve increasing the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour by 2026. This is a huge change to what we have right now.

The minimum wage here in Florida, and on the Suncoast, is $8.56 cents an hour - which comes out to a salary of about $17,000 a year.

“But he way that they’re designing it is that it’s not going to happen all at once. It’s going to happen $1 at a time. One dollar per year, until it gets to $15,” explained Michael Snipes, an Economics Professor at the University of South Florida.

This change would impact thousands of employees in both Sarasota and Manatee counties.

“We do have a pretty service based economy around here, and a lot of those jobs tend to be pretty low-paying jobs, especially minimum wage jobs,” said Snipes.

Many of those workers on the Suncoast, say it’s time for that to change.

“People are struggling out there. The current minimum wage we have now can barely keep the lights on at people’s houses. I believe a constant growth with fuel people’s economy and means to live, and therefore it will be a better overall living for everyone,” D’Andrew Hobbs, a Security Officer in Sarasota, tells us.

However, just yesterday, there was a rally against Amendment 2. These same types of workers say this will only hurt the job market.

“It will be taken away jobs from people who are tripped & gratuity. To the point that it will take her jobs away completely I won’t be able to take care of my family the way that I am,” Misty Johnson, a server for more than 10 years, said.

Economists say while this will help workers live more comfortably, there has to be an impact to the economy at first. Meaning prices on everything will rise to meet the new cost of living. This is what is worrying many others on the Suncoast.

“All of our customers that come into the restaurant a lot of these people are coming in every day they’re going to come in one day a week, and I’m going to be able to afford the prices are prices are going to go up,” bartender and server, Dawn Fercarodda, said.

However, others say this will be temporary as the cost of living gets adjusted. The minimum wage has not been significantly increased since 2004, so some say this is necessary.

“Since then, the prices of living and pretty much everything has gone up, but minimum wage has stayed the same. I understand that this might cause some problems right now, but ultimately, if we want people to live In this country, then we have to have better minimum standards for jobs,” Connor Farrell, a cashier worker at Publix, tells us.

In order for Amendment 2 to be passed, and for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour by 2026, 60% of voters in Florida would have to vote yes in this year’s election.

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