Gregory Forms Committee to Fight Amendment 2

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY SEP 24, 2020

Voters in Florida this November will decide whether to amend the state constitution to require a $15 minimum wage by late 2026. In the meantime, a political committee run by Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, will make the case the measure should be shot down.

“It’s a simple economic issue,” Gregory says. “If you increase prices for something, you lower the demand for it. Businesses won’t be able to afford it.”

The lawmaker this week announced formation of More Jobs and Better Wages, which will work to convince many Florida voters to say no to the attractive prospect of forcing a boost to their paychecks.

Amendment 2 made it to the ballot via citizen petition, with the effort financed largely by Orlando attorney John Morgan, the same person who served as a driving force for the medical marijuana amendment a few years ago. Morgan said the raise in wages will ease troubling income inequality in the Sunshine State.

"It is essential that our essential workers are not in poverty," Morgan argued on social media.

The Florida Supreme Court cleared language for the amendment in December. If more than 60% of voters in November vote yes, the measure will phase in an increase in the wage, bringing it to $10 in September of 2021 and pushing it up $1 a year afterward.

While that may sound great to many low-wage workers, Gregory said many of them will feel the economic consequences. “Those trying to work and learn new skills, they will be the ones who are hurt the most,” he predicts. “Lower-skilled employment, those are jobs that will be lost and will not exist anymore.”

Running a political committee means Gregory will spend much of the election season doing media and speaking to groups about the measure around the state, even as he faces a challenge to his reelection from Democrat David Fairey.

He’s worked with business groups like the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association on research about the measure, and heard from workers in major cities with similar requirements. He said that includes restaurant workers who now have to work multiple jobs because employers can’t staff the way they used to before the wage increase.

Additionally, Gregory said he just doesn’t see why any requirement regarding a minimum wage should be presented as a constitutional amendment. “The wage private employers pay to private employees has no place in the Constitution,” he said.

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