Mac McNeill employs dozens of college students at his bookstore. They start at minimum wage. McNeill says his costs would skyrocket $100,000 a year if a proposal to raise the minimum wage by a dollar passes, and he’d have to cut benefits.
"It would definitely increase everybody’s costs in the state. Somewhere along the line they have to pass that on."
Opponents to the wage hike argue by boosting their pay by a buck, many low-wage workers would lose eligibility for food stamps and subsidized health care and end up worse off. Supporters of the wage hike say that’s the stupidest argument they’ve ever heard.
John Podesta was working for the Clinton White House seven years ago, the last time the federal minimum wage went up.
Podesta says, "To suggest that keeping people in poverty so that they can stay on public welfare programs is a sound public policy, I find shocking."
Supporters say the one-dollar pay raise has the potential to help two million Floridians when you add in families, and other hourly workers who’d likely see a bump in pay too. But opponents argue business can’t absorb the nearly half a billion dollar cost, especially on the heels of three hurricanes.
McAllister says, "This is not the time to saddle small businesses, to saddle our economy, to saddle our state with new and additional costs that’s gonna make that recovery, in fact going to make our future that much more difficult."
It could be a tough argument to win. Recent polls show more than 80 percent of voters think it’s time the state’s lowest-paid workers got a raise.
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