Friday, January 02, 2009

An increase in the minimum wage in Florida

The minimum wage in Florida has just increased to $7.21. The increase usually stirs a debate on whether it cuts low wage jobs rather than help those in the jobs. But, there is something else that we found interesting in this article from the Gainesville Sun.

Florida ties the states minimum wage to inflation. They are among 10 other states that do so. Anna Scott the writer for the piece that appeared in today's Gainesville Sun shows how Florida enacted it's minimum wage law.

Until four years ago, Florida was one of seven states - six in the South, plus Arizona - that did not set a minimum wage. But in 2004, 71 percent of voters approved a change to the constitution that set Florida's minimum wage at $6.15 an hour - at the time $1 an hour higher than the federal rate - and pegged future increases to inflation. Arizona also enacted a state minimum wage.

In July, workers will get another raise, although a small one.

The federal minimum wage law will bump pay nationwide, including in Florida, to $7.25 an hour. It will be the first time since Florida's minimum wage law took effect in 2005 that it will be trumped by a higher federal minimum wage.

Even though the federal wage will pass Florida's in July, economists say the state's wage law is still more advantageous to Florida's low-wage workers than it appears. The state's minimum wage increases annually to provide for the increased cost of living according to the Consumer Price Index. The federal minimum wage is increased by the will of Congress.

"The state's minimum wage will never lose its actual purchasing power in terms of real income, which is not true with the federal one," Nissen said.


Florida will be in the majority of states whose rates are superseded by the new federal pay. By the end of 2009, the federal minimum wage will be exceeded in only 12 states, compared with 25 in 2008.

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