Retailers, Restaurants Fight Fla. Minimum Wage Measure

Oct 28, 2004

By George Anderson

A group called The Coalition to Save Florida Jobs, primarily funded by restaurants and supermarkets, is running an aggressive campaign to try and beat back a ballot initiative that would raise the state’s minimum wage by $1, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Among those making major donations to the effort are Publix Super Markets, the Darden Restaurant Group, Brinker International and Outback Steakhouse. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Florida Restaurant Association have also contributed to the group.

If a minimum wage increase is passed, says the group, it would mean a loss of jobs adversely affecting the very people it is intended to help including the young, elderly and unskilled workers.

Polls suggest that the group’s efforts are unlikely to sway the vote, which appears to have widespread popular support in the state.

Florida last increased its minimum wage seven years ago.

Moderator’s Comments: If John Kerry is elected President, he has vowed to seek an increase in the national minimum
wage. What would be the impact of such an action?

The problem with doom and gloom messages concerning minimum wage is that past increases have not wrought the dire results those campaigning against it have
warned about.

In Florida, the St. Petersburg Times reports, The Coalition to Save Florida Jobs is equating the passage of the minimum wage measure with the recent
hurricanes that brought so much destruction to the state. For most who lived through that experience, the analogy must seem a bit absurd.

The state’s governor, Jeb Bush, is said to oppose an increase in the minimum wage, but has been said to be almost mute on the measure to avoid a backlash
against his brother in his bid to be reelected President.

George Anderson – Moderator

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