New study shows raising the wage would boost income for more
than 3 million Floridians, reduce costs to public programs
State Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando) on Monday joined Orlando Airport and concession workers earning $5.25 an hour, along with adjunct faculty earning poverty wages to support a push for the proposed $15 minimum wage ballot initiative.
“We know that when workers earn a fair wage, they rely less on government funded programs and can afford to spend more on local businesses,” said Torres. “The cost of housing in Florida’s metropolitan areas, especially in my district, is virtually unaffordable for working families. We must support every effort to raise the minimum wage so that Floridians can afford to pay their bills, raise their families, and fulfill the American Dream of buying their own home.”
“I make $5.25 an hour with barely any tips at the Orlando International Airport. It’s impossible to survive on what I’m earning,” said Carlos Batista, a wheelchair attendant. “If I was earning at least $15 an hour, I’d have a little extra to go out to eat at a neighborhood restaurant, buy gifts for my nieces and nephews and maybe even take a trip. Raising the wage is good for workers and for businesses.”
The press conference was held at the state Capitol in advance of the State Financial Impact Estimating Conference, which was scheduled to discuss the economic impact of the proposed $15 ballot initiative. Advocates say raising the minimum wage will boost incomes for more than 3,275,000 Floridians, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, benefit local economies, and lower costs to public programs.
Last month, the proposed constitutional amendment crossed its first threshold, collecting more than 10,000 valid petition signatures over the 76,632 signatures required for a review by the Florida Supreme Court. Florida’s current minimum wage is just $8.46 an hour.