Florida May Soon Make the Switch from “Minimum” to “Living” Wage

August 28, 2015

Florida is thinking of raising the state minimum wage to what is considered a “living” wage. The switch from a minimum to living wage could mean $15 per hour minimum for everyone. Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard (D) is leading the charge by filing a bill (SB 6) for next year’s session that would effectively raise the $8.05 current minimum to $15.00 by January 2017.

Bullard has filed bills seeking a similar increase in the last two sessions. However, those bills, along with identical proposals introduced in the House by Miami Representative Cynthia Stafford, were never even given a hearing. Republicans have managed to keep the bill out of reach by citing possible job losses should the minimum wage be increased.

While it’s possible the bill may be rejected again, there is some hope that it may have a chance due to the timing. There has been a recent build in momentum for minimum wage increases across the country, particularly in the bigger cities. This momentum may be the extra push the bill needs to find itself in a committee hearing.

Other major cities have already started something of a domino effect. Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago are all well on their way to having a $15 minimum wage in the coming years. Some of the more conservative states, including Alaska, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Nebraska, have also voted in favor of raising minimum wage.

President Obama has been working towards an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10. The movement is supported by Democrats but strongly opposed by most Republicans, including Florida’s own Marco Rubio. Rubio has stated his opposition to raising the minimum wage on numerous occasions, saying that his “problem with raising the minimum wage is not that I want to deny someone $10.10. I’m worried about the people whose wages are going down to zero because you’ve made them more expensive than a machine.”

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