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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Changes may be coming to the state’s minimum wage law under a measure that narrowly made it way through the House committee Tuesday.

According to the News Service of Florida, HB 1425 was approved the House Finance and Tax Committee by a 13-11 vote. The bill would change the way the state calculates increases in the constitutionally-mandated minimum wage to account for years that the cost of living decreases.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne. It would not allow any year’s minimum wage to be less than the previous year, but would require state officials to calculate any future minimum wage hikes to take into consideration the Consumer Price index. This would come into play mostly when they country slips into a recession.

“I’m not here to lower the minimum wage,” Tobia said. “I’m here to put in common sense. There is nothing that is common sense adding to someone’s wage when the CPI is going down.”

Florida is one of seven states with similar laws that keep minimum wage in line with inflation. The to others – Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and
Washington – increased their minimum wage on January 1. Florida did not.

That decision has the state facing a lawsuit. In January, Florida Legal Service filed suit on behalf of 188,000 workers after the minimum was not raised to $7.31 an hour from $7.21 and hour in early 2010.

The state contests that the CPI was reduced during the 2008-09 fiscal year as the reason for the stagnant minimum wage. The state did, however, raise the minimum wage in July 2010 to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. It went unchanged as the New Year rolled in.

Advocates for the workers say the four cent increase was a ploy to get out of paying the 10 cent increase the workers were asking for.

“This is just an attempt to get the state out from under a lawsuit,” said Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee.

A senate version of the proposal (SB 1610) was also discussed Tuesday in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee but no vote was taken. The House version will now go to the floor.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed material for this report)

Comments (5)
  1. Vincent Marinello says:

    If they raise it again the boders will be flocked with people trying to get in….And then companies are going ti hire illegals to save money. No increase for SSI and none for min wage as well

    1. GAIN AND AGAIN says:

      Doing that NOW

      I see RIVERA and SCOTT’S FingerPrints…BIGOT

  2. Kenneth Karger says:


    1. Dan says:

      When did this get about race? I still want to see jobs! I’m not talking about cleaning towlets I’m talking about Computer jobs, engineers, more hotels, tourism, and transportation. Illegal immigrants can’t work these jobs, no real company will higher someone who can’t speak English to work a job with responsibility. Grow up its not race or public workers that is creating this depression; it is all about greed.

  3. Lynn says:

    Why doesn’t that elected representative worry more about why CEO’s pay and benefits rise while normal workers pay and benefits stagnate or shrink, or worse they lose their jobs. Tobia is like all the rest. When times get tough go after the little guy and let the big ones go on with business as usual. Clink. Clink. The sound of the toasts as the hot shots take a penny from what someone else earned.

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