José J. Rodriguez


By José J. Rodríguez, and Paul Sonn

Since January 1, more than 180,000 of Florida’s lowest-wage workers -- people caring for the elderly, serving food at the local diner, and cleaning and securing our office buildings -- have been denied an annual cost of living adjustment required by law. Acting in violation of the Florida Constitution, the state failed to implement a legally mandated 6 cent increase in our minimum wage for 2011.
Paul Sonn

Back in 2004, Florida voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment -- by a lopsided 78 to 22 percent margin -- creating a state minimum wage and indexing to inflation so that it keeps pace with the rising cost of food, clothing, electricity and other necessities. Voters realized that without such protection, the ability of minimum wage earners to provide for their families would fall each year as prices rose but the minimum wage remained stagnant.

On New Year’s Day, seven states with laws like Florida’s -- Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington -- increased their state minimum wages to keep pace with inflation. Florida did not.

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