TAMPA, Fla. - With 60.8% of the vote, Amendment 2 eked over the threshold needed for the passage of a constitutional amendment in Florida.
For Faith Booker, a mother who works two fast-food jobs in Lakeland, the margins are much less important than the impact.
“By winning Amendment 2 I’m hoping my kids never have to struggle or experience the sacrifice I had to as far as paying a bill or buying food,” Booker said.
Amendment 2 slowly raises the minimum wage in Florida. Initially, it’ll go to $10 an hour beginning next September. It then increased by a dollar a year until reaching $15 an hour in 2026.
Right now, the minimum wage is $8.56 an hour.
“Businesses in the state have made billions on tourism in the service sector for decades so it's high time to share prosperity with hard-working Floridians who made that happen,” said Alexis Davis, with the Florida Policy Institute.
The counter-narrative has always been that a higher minimum wage could lead to higher prices and job losses. Karl Gibbons, the president of Florida-based Third Eye Management group, specializing in business growth, says the timing is wrong.
"I am sympathetic but now the business owner has gone from having something to be shared, to actually now he's got nothing,” Gibbons said.
Attorney John Morgan disagrees. He spent roughly $6 million of his own money boosting Amendment 2.
“What they're gonna have two to three years down the road is less turnover, happier employees, better morale, better productivity and a retention of their workforce,” Morgan said.
Florida is the eighth state to move towards $15 an hour and is first in the American south.