5% raise for law enforcement or $15 minimum wage?

The question over pay increases to law enforcement or raising the minimum wage has residents divided.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Who doesn't want more money?

Gov. Rick Scott getting a lot of credit today.

He wants to give state law enforcement a five percent raise.

That's for highway troopers, state police, and wildlife officers.. but not local law enforcement.

Naturally-- thousands of you liked and commented showing how much you love this idea.

But wait a minute. Let's rewind to just 48 hours ago.

That's when thousands of you were mad about workers demanding minimum wage be raised to $15 dollars an hour.

That got us wondering -- when you break down the numbers, which one is more important?

A 5 percent raise, or $15/hr minimum wage for all workers?

We got this conversation started this morning on our 10News Facebook page and had lots of people supporting each side of this.

 


But I want to give you a sense of the numbers we're talking about here.

 

Florida Highway Troopers start at about $18 per hour.

That's around $35,000 a year.

A 5% raise would mean an extra $1,700 in a new trooper's paycheck. Governor Scott’s office has said the increase would only affect about 4,000 state workers.

Compare that to minimum wage in Florida. It’s $8.05 an hour... that's $5,456 per year.

Make that $15 per hour, and it's a raise of $13,000 thousand for 183,000 people working for minimum wage in the state.

So, I asked you what's your priority?

“Raise for law enforcement officers,” said Stephen Pink. “These people risk their lives to keep us all safe, and it's going to be way more beneficial to society as a whole than a $15 minimum wage which is going to increase the price of everything for everybody on the back end.”

“For more adults who work at McDonald's or other minimum wage jobs, or any other minimum wage job, they can support their family better than just a regular $8.05 job,” said Niyah Mason. “Because if you just work 30 hours on $8.05 and that's just $300 and not enough to feed if you have family or not even yourself.”

“Absolutely 5% more is totally the priority for the law enforcement and the guys who are keeping me safe,” said Ed Jennings. “The other guys don't do anything to keep me safe. If they want more money, let them work for more money.”

“The 15 dollar per hour minimum wage,” said Arementha Williams. “Anyone who works should not have to apply for welfare. $8.05 cents an hour will not feed a family or pay a mortgage.”

But Martin Catala said there are important aspects of both.

“I think that with the law enforcement, we're looking at the public sector. These are government jobs. And I think that we need these servants, these civil servants, to be rewarded accordingly. But I do think that the private sector does need to become more fair to employees. We've seen some of these low wage jobs that are challenging for people to work 40 hours a week and make ends meet. So I think the $15 an hour standard would actually bring people up and actually have an economic impact on our communities.”

Scott only wants this raise for about 4,000 state law enforcement officers, so what about the rest?

There are still thousands of probation officers across the state who risk their lives to keep you safe.

10Investigates has spent the last two years exposing Florida probation recruiting and retention crisis.
Their officers make salaries comparable to a Walmart manager.  And the high turnover has led to high caseloads which has led to less supervision of felons once they get out of prison.


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