Students supported passage of Amendment 2

Voters gather in Florida to show support for Amendment 2. Photo courtesy

Amendment 2, which raises the minimum wage, passed with more than 60 percent of the vote statewide on Tuesday. According to this amendment, the minimum wage in Florida will go up to $10 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021 and it will increase annually by one dollar until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour in 2026. After that, the minimum wage will revert back to being adjusted annually for inflation.

Loren Brown, a fourth-year psychology student at Florida A&M, was in favor of Amendment 2. “With minimum wage being raised gradually, I do think it’s a step in the right direction,” Brown said.  “Cost of living continues to increase and $8 simply does not cut it anymore, especially not in 2020.”

The last time Florida voted on a minimum wage ballot initiative was in 2004. Florida Amendment 5 in 2004 was approved by voters. It added to Article X, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution allowing minimum wage to start at $6.15 and was indexed to inflation.

Many labor unions across that state have said that Amendment 2 will eventually lift many citizens out of poverty.

Although there were many who were for this amendment to be passed, there were many who were against it. Amendment 2 was only passed by 60.8% of voters, barley making the 60% threshold needed for it to be approved. The other 39.2% that were against it had many reasons for wanting it to fail. Some voters said that raising the minimum wage would take away job opportunities because employers couldn’t afford it.

Ayanna Foster, a fourth-year psychology major, felt differently about this. “I personally do not think job opportunities will decrease. I think they will increase and the raising of wages will make people want to actually go get a job and not rely on government assistance so heavily.”

Some voters said they felt that the cost of living and things around us would significantly go up, small businesses would be impacted and Florida’s economic recovery would be negatively impacted by raising the minimum wage.  But there are no facts to prove that.

Foster said, “The cost of living has continued to go up in the last 10 years and minimum wage has not. Cost of living was going to increase regardless.”

Florida has become the eighth state to raise the minimum wage, following behind California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

In some of those states, $15 per hour is already the minimum wage.