The City of Miami Beach Commission unanimously approved an ordinance today that will raise the minimum wage in the city from $8.05 to $13.31 per hour by 2021. Miami Beach will be the first municipality in Florida to hike its minimum wage above the state level, and the new law falls in line with a national movement to significantly raise the wage.
A new minimum wage of $10.31 per hour will take effect January 1, 2018, and gradually rise every year until it hits $13.31 by 2021. The city commission would then decide if further raises are mandated on a yearly basis. The $13.31 figure was chosen because that's the minimum wage the city government pays its own employees.
“Miami Beach is known worldwide for taking on its challenges with meaningful solutions,” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said in a statement. “Today, my colleagues joined me in passing legislation that addresses the growing gap between wages and the cost of living in South Florida by establishing a minimum living wage for our community.”
Commissioners noted Miami Beach has one of the highest costs of living in the state.
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In 2004, Floridians overwhelmingly voted for a statewide constitutional amendment that pegged automatic increases in the minimum wage to the rate of inflation, but Florida's minimum wage now stands at only $8.05.
The City of Miami Beach also believes the amendment protected the rights of cities to set their own minimum wage within their city limits. However, no Florida municipality has done so. Miami Beach's move could lead to a legal or legislative battle with Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee.
"My sincere hope is that Governor Scott and Tallahassee will partner with communities like Miami Beach who have a higher cost of living and need to establish our own minimum wage so we can grow our economy and workforce," the mayor added in his statement.
Levine, a Democrat, is widely rumored to be mulling a run for governor in 2018.