Higher Minimum Wage?

Voters will get a chance this fall to decide whether Florida should increase its minimum wage by a dollar an hour. The proposal is picking up a lot of popular support.

Stephanie Dunckler hopes voters approve a constitutional amendment to increase the minimum wage in Florida by a dollar an hour. Stephanie tried to pay her way through college with a series of minimum-wage jobs, but had to drop out when she ran out of cash.

The $5.15 an hour minimum wage has not gone up in seven years. But state officials say raising it could do more harm than good. Warren may with Florida’s Labor Office cites studies that show an extra buck an hour could knock people off state and federal assistance programs they need to survive.

Business groups are also against a minimum wage hike. Rick McAllister with the Florida Retail Federation says thousands of jobs could be lost because companies can’t afford the labor costs.

Opponents of the wage hike say the vast majority of minimum wage-earners are young people just starting out in the workforce. But about 15 percent are single parents, and even opponents agree the proposal will have a lot of support from people like Stephanie who know how hard it can be to make ends meet.

Business groups are already gearing up for what they call a "voter education campaign" designed to defeat the minimum wage amendment.