The future of Florida’s economy depends on the preparation of its workforce. High-paying employers are attracted to states with highly-skilled, educated workers and innovative, well-resourced universities. Though Florida has recently increased funding for higher education, general revenue funding has yet to return to pre-recession levels, dampening the educational opportunities for Floridians who are looking to improve their skills and get better jobs.
On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make generating resources to meet the needs of Florida’s college students and institutions of higher learning much harder. If this measure passes, Amendment 5 wouldestablish a supermajority requirement to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other expenditures.
Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while spending less on Florida colleges and universities. Amendment 5 locks in these failed priorities before the state has a chance to recover from deep cuts following the Great Recession, and a supermajority requirement would likely require huge funding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida’s future.
While about as many people are working in Florida as before the recession, they are making less in wages and are less financially secure. The high prevalence of low wage jobs in Florida has severely limited the economic mobility of millions of residents. In 2016, the share of Florida workers making under $10 an hour jumped to 20.1 percent, the highest level since 2005.The median wage for the state in 2016, $16.03 an hour, was the lowest in over 11 years.Eroded by the growing cost of living, Florida’s low wages prevent nearly 1 in 2 Floridians from making ends meet. The United Way ALICE report reveals that in 2016, 46 percent of Floridians had incomes that fell below a basic “survival budget” level.