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LEE COUNTY | Minimum wage raise in Florida helps local businesses after Ian

LEE COUNTY | Minimum wage raise in Florida helps local businesses after Ian
Posted at 6:03 PM, Oct 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-01 18:03:54-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The minimum wage in Florida was raised to $12 on September 30 and one local business is excited for the growth it could bring.

Fox 4 spoke with Bill Keister, Big8 BBQ Owner, who says he's happy about the increase and benefits it will bring him as a local business owner.

“It’s going to help to bring people in, especially during the season coming up," said Keister. "I think at the end of the day you pick the best employees. If you pay them well they’re going to hang out with you."

Since Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida one year ago, the City of Cape Coral says it's happy for the increase to benefit local businesses that had major damage.

“A lot of the businesses that were affected by Ian were restaurants and retail," said Sharon Woodberry, Economic and Business Development Manager City of Cape Coral. "You know, those are the type of industries where a lot of times they’re in that tier where it’s minimum wage. By increasing that, they can recruit more people working for them and that’s a huge part of our economy.”

However, Woodberry says minimum wage still has not caught up with the current cost of living.

“While we want to see that minimum wage amount continue to increase, I think it’s even more important for us to be able to work with employers so that they can pay a living wage and bring in additional employers as well," said Woodberry.

By appealing to a younger demographic, Woodberry says they're hopeful it will attract more reliable labor for the city.

“Right now the opportunities are there," said Woodberry. "We have employees that are looking for people to hire.”

Over the next three years, Florida residents will see a dollar increase in the minimum wage. However, Woodberry says it's up to the economy with the cost of living and inflation to make the difference.

The minimum wage in Florida will continue to rise until capping at $15 in 2026.