Sun-Sentinel, William Gibson
WASHINGTON — Can you get by in Florida on earnings of $7.93 an hour?
Florida’s minimum wage rose by 14 cents on Jan. 1, which makes it 68 cents higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 but still leaves hundreds of thousands of workers in the state hovering near the poverty line.
Now President Barack Obama wants to give them and millions of others across the country a raise to $10.10 an hour by 2016 through a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage. More than a million Florida workers would benefit because they now make less than $10.10 an hour, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
“I would be so, so happy,” said Wilna Destin, 39, who makes $9.02 an hour as a housekeeper at a Walt Disney World hotel. She and her husband, a kitchen worker who also makes $9.02, say the extra dollar would improve their lot as they raise two children.
“If I got, like, $10 an hour, I would be able to live in a better neighborhood,” she said. “And my children could go to a better school.”
The impact would be especially significant in Florida, which has the second-largest number of people making minimum wage after Texas, mostly because of the large numbers of workers in hotels, restaurants and other service industries.