Come next year, Florida workers making minimum wage are getting a raise from $8.25 to $8.46 an hour. Tipped employees will see their wages go from $5.23 to $5.44 an hour. The raise — 21 cents — is, somehow, the biggest increase in the state minimum wage since 2012.
While the Sunshine State’s minimum wage is more than a dollar higher than the federal rate ($7.25 per hour), the increase still feels like an insult to a working class that flirts with poverty on a daily basis.
Our friends at Orlando Weekly put the increase into perspective by pointing out that the 21 cent boost adds an extra $437 annually.
If you work 40 hours per week, $8.46 an hour equals about $17,597 before the tax man touches it. If you made $15, then that annual total goes up to about $31,200 a year before taxes.
The federal poverty level is $25,100.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, someone making the current minimum wage in the Tampa Bay area — where 36 percent of households are renters — would have to work 84 hours each week to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent.
The same study found that renters in the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater area need to make at least $14.71 an hour ($30,600 a year) to afford even the most basic studio apartment. Don’t forget about other essentials like food, healthcare, transportation, daycare, savings and more.
So yeah, thanks for raise, Tallahassee, but, um, seriously?