Florida Legislators Shop on Minimum Wage Budget

MGN Online

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 9, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Walking down the aisles of the grocery store may be a different experience when you have to do so walking in the shoes of someone making minimum wage.

A group of Florida legislators experienced that Wednesday morning.

"The key is making sure that you look for the deals." Florida Representative Bobby Powell says that's the only way to shop when you make minimum wage.

Several legislators went grocery shopping at a local grocery store in Tallahassee Wednesday morning on a minimum wage budget. They did so in an effort to show the need to raise Florida's minimum wage.

Rep. Clovis Watson says, "I normally get DelMonte steaks. I couldn't get that today. I normally get a gallon of milk. I couldn't quite get that to fit within the budget. It's really difficult just here thinking about how difficult is is for those who really come here and cannot afford it."

Senator Dwight Bullard and Representative Cynthia Stafford have introduced bills that would raise Florida's minimum wage from $7.93 to $10.10. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Twenty-three year old Oscar Rivera is a part-time cook working for minimum wage at a Wendy's in Miami. He says he's been working there for almost three years and has not had a raise. He says, "I have to pay bills. I have to help my family in Nicaragua and Miami, too. The money that I make is not enough."

Sen. Bullard says, "I know there's some folks in the world that should really definitely count their blessings because to have to go through this each and every week, trying to manage your money and not to mention any outside expenses that pop up."

Rep. Javier Rodriguez says, "Full-time at the minimum wage is still below the poverty level. That should not be the case."

Rep. Stafford says women are two-thirds of minimum wage workers. She says, "We are probably the primary caretaker. So, there will be diapers and milk and baby food and things like that that a woman would have to spend when it comes out of her minimum wage."

Ten state lawmakers have pledged to live on Florida's current minimum
wage for five days.

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