By
Alexis P. Davis
|
February 24, 2021

State Resolution Could Result in $1.47 Billion in Lost Wages for Young Workers and Foregone Sales Tax Revenue for Florida

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Executive Summary

In November 2020, state voters approved the passage of Amendment 2, sending a clear signal that Floridians value bringing working people closer to a living wage. Now, the State Legislature has introduced Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 854, which would ask voters to authorize the Florida Legislature to set a lower minimum wage for select groups. These groups include Floridians with felony convictions, those who are incarcerated, under-21 workers, and people otherwise categorized as "hard-to-hire" (which remains undefined in this resolution).

Florida Policy Institute (FPI) assessed the impact on one of the groups targeted in the resolution — youth — and found that SJR 854 would put more than 3 in 4 young Florida workers at risk of being paid a subminimum wage, indefinitely. In its analysis, FPI examines what could happen under SJR 854 if lawmakers decided to set the subminimum wage at its current $8.65 rate. FPI found that by the time the $15 minimum wage is fully implemented, the resolution would take a collective $1.47 billion out of young workers’ pockets in the form of lost wages and result in the annual loss of $112 million in sales tax revenue.

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