Nine cents at first: Minimum wage begins road to $15 on New Year’s Day

Though 2020 wasn’t a banner year for amendments to the Florida Constitution, an initiative to raise the minimum wage did make the cut with just over 60% of the vote.

The minimum wage for non-tipped workers, currently $8.56 an hour, will tick up to $8.65 hourly starting on New Year’s Day. This meager wage increase comes by way of a legislatively mandated cost of living increase.

The citizen’s initiative will eventually lift Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, with a boost to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021, then an increase by a dollar every year through 2026.

The push to raise the minimum wage — Amendment 2 on the Florida ballot — was one business interests strongly resisted, noting that it would threaten fragile operations across the state.

Stalwart business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and conservative activist groups like Americans for Prosperity backed the “Amendment 2 Hurts You” group that worked against the pitch, saying it would impose onerous burdens on businesses ill-positioned to shoulder them, especially during a season of pandemic uncertainty.

NFIB Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle said an October analysis showed that 20% of small

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