Florida Lawmaker Proposes Ballot Measure to Establish ‘Minimum Working Wage’

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Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-District 52) filed a ballot proposal to establish a “minimum working wage” for employees. The wage would be for new hires so that employers may pay their inexperienced workers at a lower rate before being legally required to pay the constitutionally mandated increased minimum wage.

The resolution, SJR 382, first has to pass through the Florida Legislature to be placed on the general election ballot in 2022. Then, Florida voters will have to approve the measure with at least 60 percent of the vote.

Florida voters have already passed a minimum wage constitutional amendment back in 2020. As the Florida Constitution currently stands, the minimum wage will be raised from $8.65 per hour to $15 per hour. This wage hike took effect yesterday.

Brandes said the reason for the ballot measure is to create a temporary training wage.

“We think it’s a great tool that should be available to the Legislature if necessary,” Brandes said to Florida Politics. “It may not be needed today, but we want to have the option of having it available in the future. And it’s all voluntary — voluntary for the employer to offer it and voluntary for the employee to accept it.”

According to the proposal, a committee will be established every three years to determine where Florida’s “training wage” will be set. Brandes also noted this follows a precedent that dozens of other states have already implemented.

“This simply provides more flexibility, that’s why 32 states and the Feds offer a training wage, to maximize opportunities for employment,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Critics of Brandes’ proposal have said Floridians should be celebrating the implementation of the new wage this week, instead of undermining “what Florida voters demanded.”

“Now, the Republicans insist on using this week, not to inform their constituents of this important change, but to allow large corporations to pay workers less  than minimum wage for six months, with no guarantee they’ll be hired full-time afterwards,” said State Rep. Angie Nixon (D-District 14). “Republicans need to stop trying to help their corporate donors undermine what Florida voters demanded in our constitution and let workers earn the living wage they deserve.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has studied the prospects of raising minimum wage and they say temporary wages will, in fact, be raised, but family income would decrease in the long term.

“The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not changed since 2009,” the CBO said. “Increasing it would raise the earnings and family income of most low-wage workers, lifting some families out of poverty—but it would cause other low-wage workers to become jobless, and their family income would fall.”

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Sen. Jeff Brandes” by Kimberly DeFalco.

 

 

 

 

 

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