JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida voters approved an amendment raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next six years.
Those in favor of it say it will help increase the living wage for hourly workers, while those against it argue it will hurt businesses already impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, News4Jax spoke with a couple of small business owners about the impact that the change will have on business.
Nearly a year ago, Kari Strate planted roots in Five Points in Jacksonville.
“Our style is a little more edgy, I would say,” Strate said.
Strate is the co-owner of Daughters Flower Shop, where she said they already pay employees roughly $15 an hour.
“I just think it makes them feel apart of the business, it makes them feel respected and I think it makes them stay longer,” she said.
Amendment 2, which was approved by a supermajority of Florida voters, will raise Florida’s minimum wage gradually over the next six years. Under the six-year phase-in, minimum wage would go up to $10 an hour starting next year, followed by a $1 per hour increase each year until it reached $15 an hour in 2026. Future increases would then return to being adjusted for inflation starting in 2027.
Raises the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021, and increase it each Sept. 30 thereafter by $1 until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation.
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Johnny Hamparsoumian is the owner of Hovan Mediterranean. He said his restaurant is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and the increase will be challenging even if it’s gradual.
“It’s the way you feel when somebody just punched you in the gut," Hamparsoumian said. "I hope I can survive it, but I’m not sure. Maybe this first couple of years we’ll be OK, but whenever it’s going to go up to $15 dollars an hour, it’s going to be tough.”
But despite the measure, he said he will take it day by day.
“We try to smile all the time," he said as he continues to serve the community that has supported him for decades.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.