WMNF 88.5: Tampa business, Disco Dolls, joins coalition to raise minimum wage as support for Amendment 2 grows

By Daniel Figueroa IV
WMNF 88.5 (Tampa), Oct 14, 2020

A new poll from St. Leo University shows growing support for Amendment 2, to raise Florida’s minimum wage.

Tampa’s own Disco Dolls Studio recently signed on to join Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, but have believed in the cause for years.

Kristine Ownley ... and her sister, Leigh Anne Balzekas, are partners in Disco Dolls, a shop on Tampa’s Florida Avenue that’s part salon and part art studio with a dose of fashion boutique and apothecary thrown in. ... The sisters are passionate about raising the minimum wage. Balzekas said it goes to the heart of some of their core values including equality, sustainability and community enrichment.

“For us it’s good business practice because if you’re putting more money into your local economy, as a small business, we see that come back to us right away,” she said. “We see it when our neighbors are doing well. And that’s what we want.” ...

Opponents of Amendment 2 have pointed to studies saying some small businesses might not survive the raise in overhead operating costs that would come with Amendment 2 ...

Balzekas and Ownley said Disco Dolls is a prime example of that not being the case. She starts employees well above minimum wage at $13-an-hour plus commission and has survived a decade. ...

Opponents of Amendment 2 have also argued minimum wage requirements shouldn’t come from a state mandate, but be left to local counties and cities. But Balzekas said the clock has run out on those options.

“We’re at that point where we’re at a breaking point and they have to do something,” she said. “Yes there’s a lot of other ways, but those have not been accomplished yet.” ...

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