MIAMI BEACH (WSVN) — Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is proposing a citywide minimum wage of $13.31 per hour, the city announced Wednesday afternoon.

"Today, we are announcing proposed legislation that addresses the growing gap between wages and the cost of living in South Florida by proposing a minimum living wage for our community,"  said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

This would make Miami Beach the city with the highest minimum wage in Florida, potentially causing a battle with the state’s capital. Levine believes the cost of living, rent and transportation is too high to afford under the current minimum wage at $8.05.

"Florida continues to see growing costs without higher wages, and this disparity poses a real threat to Florida’s economy. It’s time to show that communities in Florida are ready to lead on this issue, and we are proud to stand with Mayor Levine as Miami Beach paves the way," said Monica Russo, president of the SEIU Florida State Council.

Under the mayor’s proposal, the new minimum wage would start in July of 2017 at $10.31. It will grow even further in later years, increasing a dollar every year until 2020, making the maximum rate $13.31. Thereafter, the City Commission could annually, at its discretion, consider whether an increase in an amount equal to the Consumer Price Index for the year should be required, according to the City of Miami Beach.

"We continue to hear stories from our residents who are unable to live and work in Miami Beach because of the high costs of rent, transportation and basic living costs. But today, we start addressing this growing problem through higher wages by establishing a citywide minimum living wage," the Mayor added.

The city said that the average income to live in Miami is $31,000. However, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimate that, to live comfortably in Miami Beach, a worker must make around $77,000 a year. "That spread, from $31,000 to $77,000, is the highest spread between what’s needed to live and what people are making in the United States," said Assistant City Attorney Robert Rosenwald.

Many people like Antionette Quintyne, a home healthcare worker, work long hours, yet still struggle to get by. "For the past 10 years, I take care of others in need, but I’m in need too," she said. "I work more than 100 hours a week to try to make ends meet, and still, it’s not enough."

Those who live on the beach have firsthand knowledge of the cost of living. "Living on the beach, it’s become a very expensive place to live when it comes to parking, and the rents that are so high, grocery stores are very expensive. Making these workers make a livable wage will be an excellent idea for the city."

In 2004, voters in Florida gave the cities the right to enact wages higher than that of the state. On May 11, Levine will meet with the city commission to discuss the proposal.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox