On Election Night time final month, probably the most hotly anticipated outcomes from the state of Florida—past which presidential candidate would seize the battleground state—was voters’ resolution on a proposed near-doubling of the minimal wage.

Finally, Floridians voted decisively to boost the Sunshine State’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026, although President Trump gained the state’s electoral votes and that Florida’s Republican leaders, together with its governor, had campaigned laborious towards the wage increase.

That vote, coupled with the identical end in an analogous referendum in Portland, Maine that day, and President-elect Joe Biden’s avowed support for a national $15 minimum wage, guarantees to re-energize the push to boost it nationwide from a fee that has stood unchanged at $7.25 since 2007. 

The Florida and Maine votes “are further items of wind behind President-elect Biden and Vice-President elect Harris to take daring motion on the $15 minimal wage,” says Mary Kay Henry, worldwide president of the Service Workers Worldwide Union, which has 2 million members within the U.S. and Canada, and the chief of the Struggle for $15 advocacy group.

However there’s a catch: regardless of the incoming Biden administration’s intentions, any hopes of passing a $15 minimal wage nationally will hinge on the pair of Senate run-offs in Georgia subsequent month pitting Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue towards Democrat challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

If Democrats prevail in each races—and that’s an enormous ‘if’—the occasion would have half of the seats within the Senate, with Harris because the tie-breaker as Vice-President. That slender majority would give Democrats the facility wanted to move a invoice just like the 2019 “Elevate the Minimal Wage” Act handed by the Democrat-controlled Home of Representatives.

Nonetheless, one of many takeaways within the paradoxical Florida vote is that it reveals assist for the $15 wage doesn’t essentially fall cleanly alongside partisan strains. Florida, a tourism-heavy place with 1 million service employees, turned the ninth state to move such a proposal.

Trickle-up impact

The minimal wage debate is one which flares up periodically within the U.S. Whereas anti-poverty advocates see a better wage as a software to carry tens of millions of People financially at time of rising revenue inequality, opponents, together with commerce organizations representing retailers, eating places and different service industries, see it as pointless, employment-stifling regulation.

All instructed, there aren’t all that many People making the present nationwide minimal wage: some 1.6 million employees, or 1.9% of all individuals paid an hourly wage make $7.25 (or much less in the event that they earn ideas too), in line with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However a rise would have a trickle-up impact on individuals at the moment making greater than that, since these individuals will demand to proceed being paid above minimal wage, says Columbia Enterprise Faculty assistant professor Christian Moser, who can be a senior analysis economist on the Federal Reserve Financial institution of Minneapolis. The Congressional Finances Workplace final 12 months discovered {that a} $15 minimal wage by 2025 would enhance revenue for some 27 million employees.

The push for a nationwide $15 minimal wage first gained steam within the aftermath of the 2011 “Occupy Wall Road” motion. President Obama took a shot at it in 2013, gunning for $9 by 2015, however that effort was thwarted by Republicans. That left many native governments to take it upon themselves to boost minimal wage in locations like Seattle and California.

Then, in a stunning plot twist, some giant corporations started elevating their inner ground wages to $15 on their very own, beginning with Amazon in 2018. Target this summer season raised its own minimum wage to that degree, bringing it to 50% above 2017 ranges, prompted by the necessity to preserve employees and inspire them at a time work in shops is extra complicated than ever.

Different retailers have been much less eager about an across-the-board-increase. Macy’s, for one, says compensation ought to mirror native circumstances. “We desire occurring a market-by-market foundation,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette just lately instructed Fortune. “The price of residing could be very totally different relying on what a part of the nation you’re in.”

And Residence Depot’s finance chief, Richard McPhail, mentioned wages are however one part of employee compensation. “We deal with greater than wage, we deal with profession alternatives and advantages,” he mentioned in an interview.

Many retailers, notably Kroger and Walmart, have provided bonuses to retailer employees throughout the pandemic however stopped in need of elevating ground wages to $15 completely.  (Walmart’s lowest wage is $11 per hour, however the firm supplies a minimal of $15 for sure jobs like deli and bakery employees. A spokeswoman for the retailer says that bonuses, paid day without work, and advantages ought to be factored into any evaluation of its compensation past hourly wages.)

Nonetheless, the actual fact compensation has ticked up reveals market forces are good at setting wages, says David French, the senior vice-president of presidency relations on the Nationwide Retail Federation, a commerce group that represents main retailer chains.

“The retailers which can be hiring are having to rent at greater wages as a result of it’s troublesome to seek out employees,” says French. “The market is working.” 

What’s extra, with many shops and eating places struggling throughout the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic, opponents argue mandated wage will increase may push many corporations over the sting. (Minimal wage will increase have sometimes been phased in over quite a lot of years to permit enterprise to adapt.)

“Eating places are spending extra to maintain their doorways open, whereas being instructed they will serve fewer prospects. Dramatic hikes in labor prices will push many eating places into speedy chapter,” Sean Kennedy, govt vice chairman of public affairs on the Nationwide Restaurant Affiliation, instructed Fortune in an e-mailed assertion.

Within the meantime, all eyes are on Georgia subsequent month. The large corporations appear to be sanguine about it. (French says the NRF has not talked to its members in regards to the $15 minimal wage push just lately, suggesting they don’t see an enormous menace.) And the Democrats know profitable each seats in a Republican-leaning state gained’t be simple. However the $15 proponents see a uncommon opening.

“We’re going to battle like hell,” says SEIU’s Henry.