Big business stifles wage increase on Miami Beach. "Profits are more important than providing a
Miami Beach’s new minimum wage law, which aims to raise the mandatory citywide wage to $13.31 by 2021, was struck down in Miami-Dade circuit court Tuesday, setting the stage for an escalation in the legal showdown between Tallahassee and City Hall.
You can read a copy of the Court Order here..
The Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce filed suit against the city in December over the city law, arguing that it is preempted by state law. Later, state Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a motion to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the state preemption law.
On Tuesday, Judge Peter Lopez invalidated the ordinance, ruling in favor of the alliance of the state and the statewide business groups, which insisted the requirement would be devastating for local businesses.
R. Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the retail federation, called the decision “great news for Florida retailers and the entire business community, as this ruling does not place an additional mandate on local businesses by requiring Miami Beach business owners to provide wages above what the state has previously established in law.”
Miami Beach’s attorneys said they will appeal immediately.
Florida’s minimum wage went up from $8.05 to $8.10 an hour on Jan 1. Lauded by labor unions and derided by business interests, the Beach’s ordinance mandates the new citywide minimum to be set at $10.31 on Jan. 1, 2018, and then increase by a dollar a year until 2021. The effective date of 2018 was purposeful — attorneys anticipated a legal challenge and wanted to give the city time to sort it out.
The City Commission also knew of the expected challenge when it unanimously passed the ordinance in June 2016. The Beach’s legal team has argued that a 2004 constitutional amendment that set a state minimum wage higher than the federal wage allows municipalities to set their own minimums.
A Miami Beach city attorney discusses the reasons behind the mayor's plan to raise the minimum wage.
Last week, a few groups filed legal briefs in support of the city’s position, including a leading expert on Florida constitutional law. Sandy D’Alemberte, dean emeritus of the Florida State University College of Law, filed a brief stating that the 2004 amendment protects local governments’ authority to set their minimum wage, whether it’s higher or lower than the statewide rate.