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$15 Minimum Wage Initiative

Summary

Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30th, 2027.

 

This measure would amend Section 24 of Article X of the Florida Constitution.

(c)  MINIMUM WAGE. Employers shall pay Employees Wages no less than the Minimum Wage for all hours worked in Florida. Six months after enactment, the Minimum Wage shall be established at an hourly rate of $6.15. Effective September 30th, 2021, the existing state Minimum Wage shall increase to $10.00 per hour, and then increase each September 30th thereafter by $1.00 per hour, until the Minimum Wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. On September 30th of 2027 that year and on each following September 30th, the state Agency for Workforce Innovation shall calculate an adjusted Minimum Wage rate by increasing the current Minimum Wage rate by the rate of inflation during the twelve months prior to each September 1st using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index as calculated by the United States Department of Labor. Each adjusted Minimum Wage rate calculated shall be published and take effect on the following January 1st. For tipped Employees meeting eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, Employers may credit towards satisfaction of the Minimum Wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003”

 

LPF Stance: No

Description

This measure raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30, 2027.

 

Libertarian Party of Florida Platform

Section VII

  1. Terms of Employment All of the terms of employment contracts, such as wage rates, hours worked, benefits and work rules, should be decided only between or among the parties involved: the employers and employees. The state should not legislate the terms of employment contracts.

 

Discussion

The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.56 an hour, $1.31 above the federal minimum. This means that the current minimum wage would rise 75 percent if a $15 minimum wage were instated. While such a raise would hypothetically equate to an equal increase in earnings, experiments carried out in places where high minimum wage laws were instated show otherwise. 

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law raising its then $9.47 wage to exactly $15. Yet in the years following, economists found a number of adverse worker impacts. For example, while workers’ wages did indeed go up, employers in Seattle found a way to bypass the increased spending by cutting their hours. During the first three years of Seattle’s minimum wage increase, during which it increased wages to $13 per hour, employers cut workers’ hours 9 percent across the board, or 3.5 million hours per quarter: equating to a $125 average decline in employee’s earnings per month.

A Cato Institute analysis from 2012 argued that minimum wage laws actually have little effect on reducing poverty, and in some cases, adverse effects. As in Seattle, the continuous case nationwide is that each round of minimum wage increases accounts for up to 550,000 part-time job losses.The same analysis reported that both state and federal minimum wage increases between 2003 and 2007 had absolutely no effect on states’ overall poverty rates. Likewise, 72 percent of professional economists oppose a $15 minimum wage across the board, including those who generally advocate for minimum wage increases. They argued in this case, $15 is far too high.

As noted by Nobel Memorial Prize Winner Paul Krugman, “So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment.

Any such interference from the state on increasing the minimum wage will likely result in detrimental economic growth for small businesses, decrease the number of hours worked annually, and have unintended adverse effects on the poorest Floridians. The Libertarian Party of Florida recommends a No vote on Amendment 2.

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