With Florida’s minimum wage set to increase to $15, how have other states fared?

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:
student loans
FILE- In this June 15, 2018, file photo, twenty dollar bills are counted in North Andover, Mass. Default on your federal student loans and the government can take up to 15 percent of each paycheck to satisfy your debt. The Education Department can also withhold federal benefits like tax returns and Social Security payments. Garnishment is an effective tool to recoup unpaid loans, private collection agencies enlisted by the Education Department took in over $841.6 million via wage garnishment in the 2018 fiscal year, but it inflicts serious financial strain on borrowers who are already struggling. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Nearly 61% of Florida voters have spoken, Raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 over six years.

The increase will roll out gradually, first to $10 an hour next September, then increasing by $1 each year until 2026.

We take a look around the country to see how it worked out in other areas.

California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, and many others have a $15 minimum wage.

Seattle made the move too – five years ago.

PhD, Associate Professor Hilary Wething, then with the University of Washington, and now at Penn State, studied the issue, “The biggest losses tended to occur for workers who have yet to enter the labor market,” like teenagers, or first time workers.

Seattle increased its minimum wage to $11 overnight in 2015, then to $13 within a year and a half, eventually going up to $15 an hour.

But here in Florida, that increase will roll out over the next six years.

Wething questioned, “I wonder if that slower increase might give businesses more time to adjust and that could lead to potentially different impacts to business than we saw in Seattle?”

In some cases, it forced businesses to cut back on the number of workers and their hours. It also led some merchants to pass along those costs to customers.

Restaurant owner Todd Brooks thinks will happen here in Southwest Florida, “People need to pay their bills, I’m good with all that. It’ll end up going down to the consumer at some point and filtering back. I mean our margins are pretty slim.” Even slimmer because of the pandemic.

Now, his business and many others must adjust – again.

The minimum wage will go up to $10, from $8.56 next September, then a dollar every September through 2026 when it reaches $15.

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