Florida’s Minimum Wage Raise Isn’t Enough

Gabriela Enamorado/Contributing Writer

Florida is notoriously one of the country’s least affordable states to live in. Anyone who’s ever lived in Florida knows this.

The high demand to live in Florida, plus its popularity as a tourist attraction, only increases the cost of living. And even though the state is making an effort to fix that, it’s not enough to bridge the large inequality between low wages and high living costs.

On Jan. 1, 2020, Florida’s minimum wage increased from $8.46 per hour to $8.56. For tipped workers, the wage went from $5.46 per hour to $5.56. This is a 1.12% increase. Only a dime increase in the minimum wage. This is not enough to get by in Florida. 

In 2010, the minimum wage was $7.25; over the course of a decade, it’s only increased a little over a dollar. This doesn’t help working-class people pay their bills, especially since the cost of living in Florida – a home costs an average of $230,000 – is higher than the national average – $200,000.

College students are some of the more obvious victims of low minimum wage. They often support themselves while in school with minimum wage jobs, some of them working and studying full-time. There is tuition and books to pay for. Not everyone gets financial aid or scholarships, unfortunately, or if they do, it’s not always enough to support them fully. A higher minimum wage in Florida will not only help students get by but lessen financial worries so they can focus on their studies. 

I also frequently see adults with families working two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. Opponents of raising the minimum wage, like the conservative website The Blaze, often argue that jobs like “flipping burgers” are low skill and don’t require much thought; because of this, these workers don’t deserve to be paid more.

However, many jobs such as hospitality, which is the industry with the highest percentage of workers earning minimum wage, requires interpersonal, customer service and time management skills. Saying there is no skill required for jobs like food service, transportation, lodging and event coordinating is an insult to hard-working people who work long hours to make it by everyday.

Florida should take this into consideration and raise the minimum wage to about the same as California. It’s the least we can do to make life easier on Floridians who struggle so much with low wages and high living costs. 

Featured image by 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.

 

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