Florida Minimum Wage Hike Highlights 2020 Ballot Initiatives
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia voted on ballot measures this year, including a number of initiatives that directly impact poverty and opportunity issues.
The key results from ballot initiatives in Tuesday’s voting:
- Florida passed Amendment 2, increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. Under the measure, in September 2021, the minimum wage will increase from $8.56 to $10 an hour and it will increase by $1 every year until 2026.
- Colorado passed Proposition 118, establishing a 12-week paid family and medical leave program funded by employees and employers in a 50/50 split.
- Voters defeated the Illinois Allow for Graduated Income Tax Amendment to amend the state’s constitution and replace its flat income tax with a progressive one. In June 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed SB 687, which would enact a graduated income tax if voters approve the ballot measure. SB 687 would change the state’s income tax from a flat rate to six graduated rates beginning on January 1, 2021.
- California’s Proposition 15, which would significantly roll back a 1978 ballot measure that capped state property taxes on businesses, was narrowly losing with three-quarters of the vote in. It would produce an estimated $6.5 billion to $11 billion that would be shared between city and country governments, schools and community colleges.
- Alaska’s Measure 1, to increase taxes on oil industry production, was losing in early results.
- Arizona’s Proposition 208, which would raise taxes on incomes for individuals making over $250,000 or families making more than $500,000, was narrowly leading with 85% of the vote counted. This tax revenue will be distributed to the Student Support and Safety Fund that will provide classroom and teacher support (i.e. teacher salaries).
- Georgia voters passed Amendment 1, which would dedicate “all taxes or fees to the specific program or purpose to which the taxes or fees were imposed.” Currently taxes are being diverted into the state’s general fund rather than to a specific program.
- California voters defeated Proposition 21, which would have allowed local governments to impose rent control on all residential properties that are at least 15 years old. Supporters of the proposition argued that rent control will improve California’s housing crisis, while critics claimed that it would have created a revenue crisis for cities, as landlords will pay lower property taxes.
- California approved Proposition 22, allowing rideshare and delivery drivers to be exempt from a new state law requiring them to be treated as employees. If drivers are classified as independent contractors, they “are not entitled to certain state-law protections afforded employees—including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.” Supporters argued the measure is necessary if gig companies are going to continue their current level of service and avoid significant layoffs. Critics contended the measure would continue a pattern of exploitation of drivers for ride apps.
- California approved Proposition 17, giving convicted felons that are on parole the right to vote. Currently, convicted felons must wait until after their parole sentence is completed before they can submit a ballot.
- California rejected Proposition 16, to restore the use of affirmative action in California, meaning universities and government offices could factor in someone’s race, gender or ethnicity in making hiring, spending and admissions decisions. That practice has been illegal in California since 1996, when voters approved another proposition that banned affirmative action.
- California rejected Proposition 25, which would have upheld a 2018 law that sought to eliminate cash bail and replace it with an algorithm to assess a person’s risk for not appearing at trial — the higher the risk, the less likely they are to be released. In an interesting twist, some leaders of the progressive community, such as the California State Conference of the NAACP and Human Rights Watch, opposed Proposition 25 on the grounds that the new system would also be based on racially biased assessment tools.