Talk of the bay: Florida ahead of the curve on minimum wage

By Times staff
Published May 26, 2007

Congress voted to substantially raise the minimum wage this week, but don't expect Florida to bat an eye. The federal minimum wage, which is $5.15 an hour, would increase to $7.25 by summer 2009 under this bill, which President Bush is expected to sign quickly. But Florida plays by its own minimum wage rules: Here, the wage rises each year in conjunction with the Consumer Price Index. On Jan. 1, the state minimum wage rose from $6.40 to $6.67. Assuming that the consumer price index increases at a similar rate for the next two years, Florida could easily reach a $7.25 minimum wage by the time the last phase of the federal bill takes effect.

Medicare fraud charges hit state
A Tampa medical supply company was among nine Florida businesses charged by federal and state prosecutors with $101-million in Medicare fraud on Friday. EZ Medical Inc. and Eduardo Ruiz of Tampa allegedly submitted $5.3-million in fraudulent bills to Medicare for durable medical equipment. Ruiz faces a maximum prison term of 10 years. A total of 16 people, most from South Florida, were indicted in the case led by the U.S Attorney's office in Miami.

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