Wednesday, June 19, 2019

More and more Floridians support raising the minimum wage, poll finds

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2019 at 5:55 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
More and more Floridians are saying they're ready and eager to support an amendment to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour in the coming years, according to the latest survey on the matter from St. Pete Polls.

The poll found that 63 percent of Sunshine State voters say they would support the amendment, which would raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2021, with a $1 increase each year until it hits $15 in 2026. From there, the minimum wage would then rise parallel with inflation rates.

That would make a huge difference in day-to-day life as compared to surviving on the state's current minimum wage of just $8.46 per hour, or on the federal minimum wage, which is a measly $7.25 per hour.

We can now  assume support for the amendment is slowly but surely on the rise among Florida voters, as a previous survey conducted by St. Pete Polls earlier this month found that only 58 percent of respondents supported the measure.



It also means the percentage of respondents who support the potential constitutional amendment is now above the 60 percent of voters required for an amendment to be approved on the November 2020 ballot.

Orlando attorney John Morgan's political committee Florida for a Fair Wage, which has been mostly bankrolled by Morgan, is leading the effort. In all, the Morgan Firm PA and Morgan & Morgan PA have contributed nearly $2.27 million to the committee, which is chaired by Morgan. 

Even so, the latest poll found support straddles the partisan divide: 79 percent of Democrats said they'd support the measure, while 13 percent said they wouldn't; of independent voters, 64 percent said they'd support it, while 23 percent were opposed. Then there are Republicans, which the latest poll found were 47 percent in support and 40 percent opposed to the potential ballot amendment.

By comparison, the survey from early June had 55 percent of Republican respondents opposed to the idea, while 39 percent said they'd support it, so support among GOP voters is on the rise.

The amendment qualified for review by the Florida Supreme Court in March after Morgan's group submitted the amount of signatures required under state law and will skip the oral argument phase of the review after the court announced Tuesday that it hadn't received any briefs on the wording issue.

In April, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference estimated Florida would be on the hook for roughly $540 million in 2027 if the proposed amendment qualifies and is approved in November.

In the first year of the proposal's implementation, the report's authors say, the amendment would have a $15.7 million impact to the state, which would increase to $537.6 million upon full implementation in 2027.

Included in the $15.7 million first-year impact is $8.8 million expected to be felt by public school districts, the study estimates. It also predicts local governments will take a hit of about $3.8 million, and the Florida College System would have to eat about $1.9 million more in costs.

Still, that doesn't mean hiking the state's minimum wage is a bad idea. Without the proposal, Florida's minimum wage would only increase to an underwhelming $9.10 per hour from its current rate by 2022. 

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