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Florida minimum wage up 36 cents for 2012
Gainesville Sun
Anthony Clark

January 2, 2012
View the Original Article

Florida minimum-wage earners got a 36-cent raise Sunday when the 2012 rate increased from $7.31 to $7.67 an hour.

That is good news for the 253,000 Florida workers who were earning at or below minimum wage, according to 2010 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Thousands earning slightly more also will benefit as businesses bump up their pay in line with their current wage structures.

The additional pay likely will be injected back into local economies since low-wage earners tend to spend what they make.

Some business groups say minimum wage increases mean fewer jobs, however, as the added cost per employee means they cannot fill as many jobs.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 creating Florida's minimum wage, starting at $1 above the federal minimum wage of $5.15 in 2005 with subsequent increases tied to inflation.

By 2009, the federal minimum wage overtook Florida's formula, and the wages were equal at $7.25 for 2009 through 2011.

A circuit court judge this year agreed with groups representing workers that the formula used by what is now the Department of Economic Opportunity could not lower the Florida base minimum wage when the cost of living falls. The judge granted a 6-cent raise to $7.31 starting in June.

Employees who work for tips also will receive a 36-cent-an-hour direct wage increase to $4.65.

The federal minimum wage will still be $7.25 an hour in 2012.

Bob Walther of Wal-Staf Personnel Services said they discourage Wal-Staf's clients from paying minimum wage if they want to find someone who can do the job.