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Florida Chamber of Commerce, State Rep. Warn Voters About Minimum Wage Raise Proposal

Two dozen people carrying signs and a banner march in the street
Lynne Sladky
FILE - In this April 15, 2015, file photo, protesters march in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of an expanding national movement known as Fight for 15, in Miami. A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout from work July 20, 2020, as part of an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

What first was an ask to the state legislature has now turned into a question to voters on this November’s ballot. Each voter will get to decide whether to raise the state's minimum wage. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is joining the chorus of business-backed groups opposing a $15 per hour minimum wage amendment. Chamber CEO Mark Wilson is telling businesses to talk to their customers and friends.

"If this is an amendment you don’t like and you want to get the word out, we need your help we need you to do that today, tomorrow and the next day," said Wilson. "This is not a wait until early November to start talking to friends, families, and vendors about this."

Wilson believes the minimum wage hike would give businesses more reason to turn to automation. And that it would make it harder for teen workers to get jobs. Wilson believes some businesses will leave Florida to avoid having to pay workers more than minimum wage in nearby states. Georgia and Alabama both use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Rep. Tom Gregory (R-Bradenton) believes it’s a trick to turnout more democrats in the election.

"This is a voter turnout trick and it really is insulting for either party to use a ballot amendment to try and sway an election but that’s exactly what I think is going on here," said Gregory.

The amendment would raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. The initiative is sponsored by Orlando area attorney John Morgan.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.