New push to increase Florida's minimum wage
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - There's a new push to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Attorney John Morgan says, he's already working on a draft of a constitutional amendment that voters can vote on.
We caught up with several business owners and workers at a job fair on Friday who offered a variety of opinions about the proposal. Many of the business owners were skeptical.
"I don't think it's going to solve anything, because basic business you have to make money," said security employer John Murphy, "and if you increase the minimum wage, you're just going to increase the prices for everything and anything anyway so you're really not changing the status quo."
"When you run the numbers and look at the cost of doing business, that's a very hard cost to absorb," said Beryl Stephen, who owns a publishing company.
We asked her how much a five-dollar book would increase to if she had to pay workers $15 an hour to create one.
"You could probably see a couple of bucks added, maybe up to $8," she said.
Murphy said the cost of any item would go up.
"Then your burger will be $15, instead of $7, because the company has to make money, so it gets pushed to the people who buy it. So you're not changing anything."
In Orange County, 1,500 employees earn $15 or less. The lowest pay is $8.15 an hour. If it should increase, a county spokesperson said it would affect the budget.
The lowest paid Orlando city workers make 12 bucks an hour. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, eventually they'll have to make more.
"We've got a living wage that escalates over a period of time. I think $15 would be appropriate at some point, but I think it's gotta be worked in."
The president of Florida A &M University thinks raising the minimum wage is a good idea.
"Beyond the people who come to us as students, there are a lot of people out there in need of additional monies to make their ends meet," said FAMU's Dr. Larry Robinson.
Orange resident Mariana Arreata is one of them, who said, "It's hard. It's like counting every penny. In my case we are expecting for next year so its even harder."
Murphy said it will make it harder on everyone if the minimum wage goes up to $15.
"I believe it's killing small business and the service industry hopefully with the new change of order things will change a little bit."
Morgan said the voters would vote on the issue in 2018.