Florida minimum wage hike would cost the state up to 181K jobs

Florida minimum wage hike would cost the state up to 181K jobs

Studies show hiking the cost of hiring workers will result in fewer jobs for Floridians.

For many Floridians, a minimum wage job is the first rung on their career ladder.

But on Nov. 3, voters will decide whether to make it harder to step onto the ladder.

On Florida ballots is a question asking whether the state should enshrine a $15 minimum wage in the constitution. But two studies show that hiking costs on Florida businesses would pour salt in the state’s jobs engine – at the worst possible time.

The Economic Policy Institute conducted a study in January 2019 that showed a $15 minimum wage would result in more than 145,000 jobs lost. Meanwhile, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association estimated a loss of between 158,000 and 181,000 jobs.

With unemployment claims spiking amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hiking costs for businesses would be an insult to Floridians seeking work and employers trying to stay afloat.

And lost jobs aren’t the only consequences.

As businesses pass higher costs on to consumers, seniors on fixed incomes will struggle to afford the same services.

“It really is going to mean substantial [price] increases if you’re on a fixed income,” Florida Chamber Chief Economist Jerry Parrish told Florida Politics.

“Restaurants, lawn service, dry cleaning, home repair, those things. Since seniors spend more on services than they do on goods, it really could be a big impact here for those seniors and people on fixed incomes.”

Local governments will also be forced to hike property taxes to pay for the unfunded minimum wage mandate.

“State and local government costs will increase to comply with the new minimum wage levels,” said state Rep. Mel Ponder, R-Fort Walton Beach.

“This proposed constitutional amendment is estimated to have a net negative impact on the state budget. This impact may result in higher taxes or a loss of government services.”

Lawmakers pushing for a minimum wage hike have good intentions.

But the results tell a different story: harming Florida businesses and workers, seniors and taxpayers alike.

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