Florida not looking to hike minimum wage to $10.10

Florida's lowest-paid workers will get a raise Jan. 1, but the much higher minimum wage sought by state and national Democrats doesn't appear to be on the state legislative horizon.

The automatic increase of 12 cents an hour, recalculated by law each year based on the federal Consumer Price Index, will increase the state minimum wage to $8.05 in January, up from $7.93. Voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment aimed at annual minimum-wage hikes.

The upcoming increase will also boost the minimum wage for tipped employees from $4.91 an hour to $5.03.

The $8.05 rate keeps Florida ahead of the federal minimum wage of $7.25, which has been in place since July 2009. But it remains below the $10.10-an-hour mark being pitched by President Barack Obama, state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, and state Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami.

Bullard acknowledged this week that his proposal faces a tough future in the Republican-dominated Legislature. But with polls showing support in Florida and voters in other states approving similar measures, he said he believes pressure is growing so that Florida lawmakers will have to consider steps toward a higher minimum wage.

"Something will be done in the next few years," Bullard said. "Every year that we wait there are more states that are moving to a higher increase and we'll find ourselves as a state on the low end of the minimum wage scale. … Even in low-wage fields, individuals will ultimately want to move to a state that is doing better business."

Business groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce have argued against such proposals, saying the $10.10 proposal will be a problem for small employers who would be forced to lay off workers because of the higher costs.

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