Taxes, wages, and more: New laws for 2019

Some shoppers are surprised to hear that, starting January 1, sales tax in Hillsborough County is going up.

"I just heard it yesterday. I thought it was the summer, but it's not!" said Tampa resident Winnie Ashwood.

In November, Hillsborough voters approved a 1.5-percent increase in sales tax. "As long as the money is for the schools, that's all I want," said Ashwood.

Half a cent for every dollar will be put toward funding school improvements. The other one cent will go toward improving public transportation, roads and bridges.

"It's a lot, but it's needed," said Virginia Schroer.

Voters also passed a non-residential property tax cap in November. This affects people who own rental properties or commercial buildings, for example. A temporary 10-percent property tax cap approved in 2008 that was set to expire in 2019 is now a permanent cap.

When it comes to hospitals, a new rule going into effect January 1 will require hospitals to post a list of their standard prices online and make electronic medical records more readily available to patients.

Minimum wage earners in the state of Florida will have more cash in their pocket after January 1, thanks to a minimum wage rise to $8.46, a 21-cent increase.

High school student Josh Baker, who works part time at a Tampa fishing gear shop, is excited for the increase. "It helps pay for gas, and things I want, you know, fishing stuff, a lot of different hobbies and stuff like that."

This minimum wage hike will be more than a dollar higher than the federal minimum wage.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage for tipped employees will also increase, to at least $5.44 per hour.