Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Business

Three quick takes on 12 cents, coal cuts, bank rankings

Three quick takes on a new minimum wage, a layoff in coal country and what small businesses think of banks.

• • •

A gain of just 12 cents an hour, 96 cents per eight-hour day, or $249.60 in the coming year. Effective Jan. 1, Florida's minimum wage increases by 12 cents an hour from today's $7.67 to $7.79 per hour.

Each year, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity recalculates Florida's minimum wage based upon the increase in a federal consumer price index.

Proponents of the minimum wage and its annual increases say those gains help lower-income families from slipping closer to poverty. A 40-hour-a-week job at $7.79 translates to a mere $16,203.20 of annual income. Opponents to raising minimum wages argue businesses hire fewer people because of higher costs. Teens, already suffering high jobless rates, are especially squeezed. Or so the argument goes.

Ten states and three cities will increase their minimum wages in 2013. Washington will lead the country with the highest state minimum wage: $9.19 per hour. San Francisco will have the highest overall minimum wage at $10.55, says the Employment Policies Institute.

In Florida, this wage hike was no passing fancy. In 2004, 71 percent of voting Floridians approved a minimum-wage amendment to the state Constitution. The first state minimum wage took effect in 2005 at $6.15 an hour. Since then, the per-hour increase amounts to $1.64. If that sum discourages some companies from relocating or expanding in Florida, well, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

• • •

Direct from the Kentucky keyboard of irresistibly named reporter Trent Knuckles, writing for the Corbin News Journal, comes a story that TECO Coal Corp. will lay off 90 employees from mines across the region in response to tough market conditions.

"We are hopeful that this is temporary and that some time in 2013 the coal markets will recover," Paul Matney, TECO Coal human resource director, told Knuckles. TECO Coal, of course, is one of the business units of TECO Energy, based in Tampa.

The timing of the 90 layoffs is interesting, coming just days after the presidential elections. President Barack Obama is viewed as less of a fan of coal than challenger Mitt Romney. Would those layoffs have occurred had Romney won the White House? Besides, TECO Coal's still waiting to see how much the Environmental Protection Agency may fine the company for discharging mining wastewater in Kentucky's Pike County. It so happens that most of the lost jobs will happen at the TECO Coal subsidiary called Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co. — in Pike County.

• • •

If there's a constant in the business universe, it is the lament of small businesses trying to get bank loans. A JD Power survey says small businesses are less happy with banks than retail customers. But some banks get higher marks than others from small business. Among better ranked banks in the Tampa Bay area: SunTrust and BB&T. And the least liked? Bank of America and Fifth Third received weak marks.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]

Comments
Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida has the strongest residential building codes among 18 coastal states, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Florida’s rating is 95, almost three times higher than lowest-ranked Texas. Other states wit...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Times staffRedlining’ — banks’ refusal to make mortgage loans in certain areas — still has a huge effect on housing values even though the practice was banned 50 years ago. According to Zillow, a Tampa Bay house in a once-redlined area is worth less ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

NOW OPEN: TEX-MEX CHAIN CHUY’SThe Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opened its first Tampa restaurant on Tuesday, giving away free Chuy’s for two for a year to the first 50 customers. I know, we missed it, it’s a bummer, but we can still visit...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Madeira Beach rethinks commitment to ferry

Madeira Beach rethinks commitment to ferry

MADEIRA BEACH — When most members of the current City Commission ran for office they pledged to impose tighter fiscal controls on spending taxpayer dollars.It was obvious Tuesday they haven’t changed their minds. The commission’s latest target is a f...
Published: 04/25/18
Shrinking supply of Tampa Bay condos and townhomes drives up prices

Shrinking supply of Tampa Bay condos and townhomes drives up prices

Sales of condos and townhomes in the Tampa Bay area jumped 9.5 percent in March, hitting a median of $156,000. The price gain was prompted in part by a supply shortage, with sales down 7.5 percent amid a dwindling inventory. Statewide, sales also lag...
Published: 04/25/18
Seminole council does full flip-flop on kratom sales

Seminole council does full flip-flop on kratom sales

SEMINOLE — In a rare move, City Council members reversed themselves on a unanimous vote to ban the sale of kava and kratom within city limits, agreeing — once again unanimously — not to bring the ordinance to a second reading.The "consensus vote" to ...
Published: 04/25/18
Against neighborhood and city staff wishes, Clearwater Council greenlights storage facility

Against neighborhood and city staff wishes, Clearwater Council greenlights storage facility

CLEARWATER — Skycrest residents showed up to City Hall recently and begged elected officials not to let a developer knock down an aging office building in their neighborhood and build a storage facility in its place.Planning and Development Director ...
Published: 04/25/18
Three artists picked to create art for St. Pete’s new pier

Three artists picked to create art for St. Pete’s new pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Pelicans will return to the pier in fanciful form.A California artist has been selected to create an enormous, red origami sculpture of a pelican that will serve as a metal perch for three more lifelike, but no less fanciful, imitati...
Published: 04/25/18