Better Jobs and Fairer Treatment for Workers
Carlos is a champion for working families and he understands that Floridians deserve a real living wage, good benefits like earned sick time and access to affordable medical treatment and lifesaving care. He will always stand up for workers and hold corporations accountable who treat employees unfairly.
We will never achieve full equality until every Floridian has the opportunity to earn a fair living wage. Florida’s minimum wage currently stands at a meager $8.56 per hour due to failed leadership in Tallahassee. More than ½ of all black workers and more than 60% of Latino workers make less than $15 per hour.
While Orlando may be the #1 tourist destination, we are dead last in wages. In Orlando, nearly 40% of all workers are paid less than $25,000 annually. This culture of poverty in Central Florida is costing taxpayers big time. The failure of the tourism industry to offer living wages and fair benefits, swells our welfare rolls and overflows our ER rooms — but the top 1% are content to live comfortably off the fruits of their labor.
We can fix this so that Floridians who work 40 hours a week don’t have to live in poverty! Increasing the minimum wage to a statewide living wage will put more money in hard working people’s pockets where they’ll spend it, which grows the economy and creates jobs, while saving taxpayers who won’t be forced to subsidize low wages with food stamps, Medicaid, and low-income housing.
Protecting Outdoor Workers from Heat Illness
As the sunshine state, Florida should be leading the nation in protecting outdoor workers who are at high risk for heat illness. That’s why Carlos introduced bipartisan legislation to protect outdoor workers from intense heat in Florida. All employers should adopt common sense procedures to ensure their workers have access to cool water, shade and short breaks during periods of intense heat. That includes worker and supervisor training on how to identify symptoms of heat stress and how to administer first aid to affected workers on the job.
A Voice for Small Businesses During COVID-19
Small businesses across Florida are fighting for survival as COVID-19 continues to wreck our economy and destroy lives. Understanding the need for support from the same state government that shut them down in the first place, Carlos has publicly called on Governor Ron DeSantis to redirect support for giant corporations instead towards struggling small businesses trying to stay afloat.
The Governor instead offered $50 million to small businesses through the Florida Bridge Loan program. Even though these loans had to be repaid, 38,000 businesses applied. Weeks later, it was announced that only 1,000 loan applications were approved. Later that month, Gov. Desantis issued $543 million in corporate tax refunds to the top 1% of Florida businesses who didn’t need it. Carlos is fighting for a state relief package to help save small businesses from bankruptcy due to COVID-19.
Carlos believes Florida’s largest corporations, represented by highly paid lobbyists and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, are already well-represented in Tallahassee. That’s why Carlos is fighting for small businesses and works with local chambers of commerce to ensure their voices are heard
Supporting Small Businesses in House District 49
As your state representative, Carlos has voted repeatedly to reduce Florida’s business rent tax. These reductions have saved our state’s small businesses more than $90 million between 2018-2019, giving them more resources to expand their business and hire new employees.
Florida is the only state that continues to charge a commercial business rent tax. Small and minority owned businesses are disproportionally impacted, which is why Rep. Smith has advocated to reduce or eliminate this tax burden over the next several years.
Allow Small Businesses to Enter the Medical Cannabis Industry
Carlos believes Florida should move away from the cartel-like ‘vertical integration’ system of medical cannabis and instead move towards a free-market industry where small and minority-owned businesses can compete. Patients will see lower prices and better products as a result. Carlos also supports the full legalization of cannabis for adult use and has introduced bipartisan legislation with GOP Senator Jeff Brandes to do it in Florida. This legislation would eliminate ‘vertical integration’ and allow small businesses to enter the market while creating new jobs in our state.
When Florida’s medical cannabis law was implemented in 2017, local governments around Florida began banning cannabis dispensary locations in their cities and counties. Carlos helped lead the successful local effort to persuade the Orange Board of County Commissioners to allow dispensary openings in our area and bring new jobs to House District 49.