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Florida businesses and labor groups weigh in on $1 minimum wage hike kicking in Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Starting Saturday, minimum wage workers will see their hourly earnings bump up from $11 an hour to $12 an hour.

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Meanwhile, tipped workers will jump from $7.98 an hour to $8.98 an hour.

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It’s roughly more than a ten percent increase across the board.

But Dr. Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO argued for many Floridians, who have seen some of the highest rates of inflation in the country, double-digit property insurance rate hikes, and increased housing costs, the wage hike won’t make the impact many had hoped.

“The wage is going up a dollar and that’s good. That’s a good thing, but everything else that’s happening here in the state has basically stripped that dollar away,” Templin said.

On the other side of the issue business owners like Raed Battah, who owns Fast Eddy’s in Deerwood, fear the constitutionally mandated annual wage hikes will put businesses, workers, and consumers in a tight spot.

“The only way the business has to recover those costs is either going to be to raise prices or to try to minimize that burden other ways. Either cutting hours or laying off,” said Battah.

Battah already pays his employees well above the state minimum wage, so he doesn’t anticipate major impacts on his bottom line.

Instead, his concern is for the other restaurants and businesses that aren’t similarly situated.

“It’s not one size fits all and it’s going to create challenges. It’s going to hinder growth. It’s going to slow things down. If people think that it won’t, they’re mistaken because you’re always managing your costs,” Battah said.

However, Templin argued in other states rising prices related to minimum wage hikes are generally short-lived due to increased consumer spending power.

“Because now those businesses have more customers, more people purchasing their products and services and so those prices come back down,” Templin said.

Minimum wage will continue to rise by $1 each year until hitting $15 an hour in 2026.

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After that, annual minimum wage increases will revert to a calculation based on inflation.

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