Tia Mitchell, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Increasing Florida’s minimum wage would not only help families rise out of poverty but boost the overall economy, Democratic lawmakers said today.
It is unlikely their proposal to boost the minimum hourly wage about 27 percent will get much traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature, especially over objections from the business community. But Florida Democrats are aligning with a progressive cause that has become a national conversation.
Noting that today is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a “war on poverty,” Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, said raising the minimum wage was imperative to “closing what has been a growing income inequality gap.”
The proposals — Senate Bill 456 and House Bill 385 — would increase Florida’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all workers. Congressional Democrats, with the backing of President Barack Obama, are pushing for the federal minimum wage to be increased to the same amount.
The minimum wage in Florida is currently $7.93 an hour and $4.91 for employees who are tipped. That includes a 14-cent increase that went into effect on Jan. 1, the result of a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004 that tied required automatic cost-of-living adjustments.
Count Gov. Rick Scott among those who are dubious about the Democrats’ proposal.
“When I hear a politician say that we have to raise the minimum wage so working families can make ends meet, I cringe…