Proposed amendment on Florida’s ballot would increase minimum wage

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) - In a few short weeks, Floridians will take to the polls to vote for the country’s next president, but that’s not the only thing they’ll vote on. Floridians will have the opportunity to amend the state’s constitution six times, but Amendment Two would raise Florida’s current minimum wage of $8.56.

“What it would do is in year one, the first year, it would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and then it would increase the wage by a dollar an hour for the next six years,” John Morgan, who sponsored the amendment, said.

The goal is for a $15 minimum wage by 2026.

“Large numbers of people are working their fingers to the bones and falling further and further and further behind,” Morgan, who is a lawyer and part owner of WonderWorks in Panama City Beach, said. “You’re going to get a harder worker, a better worker, a more grateful employee, someone who stays. You’re not going to have the turnover.”

Panama City Beach Restaurant Owner Dave Trepanier said the repercussions of a minimum wage hike would be devastating to the hospitality industry.

“I think you’d see far more businesses go out of business than opening businesses,” he said.

Trepanier said restaurants would have to raise menu prices, an expense passed on to customers.

“The restaurant industry works on such small margins anyways. You know, to continue to have to put more and more burdening expense on us is just going to get harder and harder to do business,” he said.

But Morgan said he knows the impact of a wage increase after he did it for his own employees. Even though it cost him $4 million, he believes other Floridians will want to do the same.

“I’m confident it will happen because I believe in the goodness of Floridians,” he said.

Amendments must receive 60% approval from voters in order to pass.

Below is a list of the amendments to be voted on in this year’s General Election in Florida:

Amendment 1 Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections: This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

Amendment 2 Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage: 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 September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.

Amendment 3 All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet: Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024.

Amendment 4 Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments: Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.

Amendment 5 Limitation on Homestead Assessments: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective date January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

Amendment 6 Ad Valorem Tax Discount for Spouses of Certain Deceased Veterans Who Had Permanent, Combat-Related Disabilities: Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.

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