The campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour has been gaining traction in recent months in New York, California and elsewhere in the country. Last week the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) held a series of rallies in cities around Florida advocating for a $15 minimum wage. State Senator Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, has reintroduced a proposal for Florida’s 2016 legislative session calling for the state’s minimum wage to be raised from the current $8.05 to $15 beginning in 2017.
Bullard sponsored a similar bill in this year’s legislative session, but the proposal never received a committee hearing. At the federal level, Congressional Democrats are getting behind an effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020. Supporters of raising the minimum wage say it would help close the income inequality gap and that raising the spending power of low-wage workers would be a boon for the economy. Opponents of the proposal, including Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Chamber of Commerce argue it would limit employers’ ability to hire more workers and in some cases would result in workers being laid off. We’ll hear from both sides as we weigh the pros and cons of raising Florida’s minimum wage.