STATEWIDE - Florida’s hourly minimum wage for non-tipped employees will increase from $8.65 to $10 on Sept. 30.

In 2020, Florida voters passed Amendment 2 with 61% of the vote. Amendment 2 gradually increases the state minimum wage to $15 in 2026.

Under Amendment 2, the state minimum wage was set to increase to $10 on Sept. 30, 2021; $11 on Sept. 30, 2022; $12 on Sept. 30, 2023; $13 on Sept. 30, 2024; $14 on Sept. 30, 2025; and $15 on Sept. 30, 2026.

Beginning 2027, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation.

Ten states plus Washington DC have now enacted a $15 minimum wage, though timelines for implementation vary. Those states are Florida, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Chairman Emeritus Roger Smith of the American Income Life Insurance Company, based in Stuart, is a Treasure Coast businessperson who fully supports the increase, and not only for the workers themselves. Mr. Smith thinks raising the minimum wage will benefit businesses and the economy.

Hometown News was referred to Mr. Smith by a coalition called Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

“The minimum wage buys fewer necessities now than it did when I needed it to survive,” Mr. Smith said in a statement the coalition sent to Hometown News that was originally published as an opinion column in The Hill. “And as a successful capitalist, it pains me to see that the American Dream, which so inspired me, is increasingly out of reach.”

“For me and so many others of my generation, the minimum wage was just the first of many rungs on a career ladder. But too many workers today find themselves running in place on a treadmill, stuck in low-wage jobs without real opportunity. Today's federal minimum wage has less buying power than it did when I was a homeless teen in the 1960s.”

Mr. Smith argued that the minimum wage is no longer a temporary, entry-level wage, but “a longtime wage that locks them and their families into poverty and undermines the consumer demand that drives our economy.”

Raising the minimum wage, he argues, makes good economic sense, and is supported by many business leaders.

“Business owners see the practical effects of raising the minimum wage. As consumers, workers with money in their pockets provide a boost to sales at Main Street businesses. A higher wage also positively affects internal functions like employee retention, employee morale and quality of

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