Business groups and the state of Florida are urging the state Supreme Court to pass on reviewing a lower court decision blocking the city of Miami Beach from unilaterally raising the minimum wage.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled in December the city cannot bypass a 2004 state constitutional amendment that established a minimum wage slightly higher than the federal rate.
A state "preemption law" subsequently passed bars municipalities from setting their own wage rates, the appeals court decided.
Miami Beach has asked the Florida Supreme Court to review that decision. It argues that the amendment allows municipalities to set a different wage rate.
The City Commission last year approved an ordinance that set a wage of $10.31 an hour in 2018, rising to $13.31 over four years.
Several business groups, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, sued and won their case in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, a decision upheld by the appeals court.
"Well, first off, the city of Miami Beach is blatantly flaunting state law which already sets the minimum wage," James Miller, communications director for the Florida Retail Federation, told the Florida Record.
"Secondly, from a general business perspective, FRF is fully against local governments mandating what businesses must pay their employees" Miller added. "We feel it should be left up to each individual retailer to determine what to pay their employees that makes them competitive and successful."
On a possible compromise with the city, Miller said, "I’m afraid the only solution satisfactory for us is for the city to drop this frivolous appeal to the Supreme Court.
"All they’re doing is wasting city time, employee resources and taxpayer money. We also feel this is partially motivated by the politics of some of those involved."
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is competing for the Democratic nomination for governor, is committed to delivering a minimum living wage, said Robert Rosenwald, first assistant city attorney.
Rosenwald, in a video interview by El Nuevo Herald, said the mayor wants the increases because of the city's "incredibly high cost of living."
"The current minimum wage is unsustainable," Rosenwald argued.
In their arguments against the Supreme Court reviewing the lower court decision, the business groups said there are no conflicting decisions that would warrant such an action by the high court.