The Corridor Paper

Greater Fort Myers Chamber Assembles Panel To Discuss Impact of $15 Minimum Wage On SWFL Businesses

Submitted By: Josh Milton

FORT MYERS, Fla. – While recent polls indicate more than 60% of Floridians support an increase of the minimum wage to $15, many small businesses are bracing for a potentially devastating economic blow if a proposed amendment to increase the wage passes in 2020. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce has assembled an expert panel to discuss the ramifications at a breakfast event Nov. 8 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by breakfast and chamber announcements. The panel discussion will begin 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 9:30 a.m.

Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.46. Should a Florida Constitutional amendment initiative appear on the 2020 ballot and be approved by at least 60 percent of Florida voters, the wage will increase to $10 in 2021 and go up $1 each year until it hits $15 in 2026. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association opposes the amendment, saying a 77 percent increase in labor costs is not sustainable for any business, especially those in Florida’s $67 billion-a-year tourism industry. Recent statewide polls by Quinnipiac University and St. Pete Polls show an average of 67.1 percent of respondents support the increase to $15.

The political committee, Florida For a Fair Wage, which is chaired by Orlando attorney John Morgan and is pushing for the ballot initiative, has collected almost 706,000 of the required 766,200 valid signatures for the measure to appear on the ballot. The group has until February to secure the required signatures.

Discussing the impact will be panelists:

Lois Croft: She is Southwest Regional Director for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Victor Claar: He is an associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University and holds the BB&T Distinguished Professorship in Free Enterprise.

Dana Brunett: He is a senior business development specialist for the Lee County Economic Development Office. He previously served as Cape Coral’s Economic Development Office Director.

Jay Johnson: Owner of Bubba’s Roadhouse & Saloon in Cape Coral.

The master of ceremonies will be John Talmage, who was named director of Lee County’s Economic Development Office in February of this year.

The cost for the event is $25 for chamber members and $35 for future members. For more information or to register for the event, visit http://members.fortmyers.org/events/ or call 239-332-3624.

Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce

Serving Lee County and surrounding areas since 1989, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a business organization of professionals who support and promote a progressive, sustainable community. The Chamber represents nearly 800 businesses, professionals and individuals throughout Lee County, providing opportunities for members to participate in a variety of meaningful networking, educational and community- and business-focused programs and events. The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is located at 2310 Edwards Drive in downtown Fort Myers. For additional information regarding membership opportunities or events please call 239-332-3624 or visit www.fortmyers.org. For the latest news and updates, follow the Chamber on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gfmcc or Twitter at @FtMyersChamber.

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