Ask the Boss

Should Florida Implement a $15 Minimum Wage?

Three local businesspeople examine the consequences of a large pay raise.

By Isaac Eger January 3, 2017 Published in the November-December 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Kim Githler

Chair and CEO, MoneyShow

“It would kill this economy. People are already losing their jobs because [small] businesses are having a harder time making a profit. People can live on minimum wage. I worked at Neiman Marcus and a restaurant in order to live a lifestyle that I wanted to live. I paid off my first car at the age of 15 on minimum wage. It gets back to the economics of our government. We are printing money at a very fast clip. Our currency is purchasing fewer goods. The responsibility to fix the economy should not be leveled on businesses to pay more.”

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Ed Chiles

CEO, The Chiles Group (Sandbar Restaurant, Beach House Restaurant, Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub)

“It would be a huge issue for our industry. Currently, you’ve got waiters making $5-$6 an hour plus tips with the tip tax credit. Our servers are making about $30 an hour. If the state took our labor budget and upped it by 150 percent that would be a big burden. How much would that mean an average plate has to go up? Are people willing to spend more? We’ve got to provide a living wage, but we have to do it in steps, and Florida has been doing that. We’re trying to move [our industry] towards no tips.”

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Marcus Anast

Co-owner, The Sarasota Collection Home Store

“We pay way above minimum wage and we always will. My thinking is: I don’t want a human being in my world to be resentful. I don’t want them to think they could be making more money elsewhere. I don’t want them to think that it’s a job. I want people to be there for me and my business because I was there for them from the get-go.  If the environment is relaxed and happy and workers are not treated like drones and people are paid accordingly, business is good.”

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