Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Push To Raise Florida's Minimum Wage Gains Steam

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MIAMI, FL - Could you live on just $17 per day? After trying it for a week, some Florida lawmakers say no one should.

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, was among those who completed the minimum-wage challenge, which simulates the struggles low-wage workers experience every day. The state's current minimum wage of $8.05 per hour forces people to make painful decisions, Bullard said.

Senate Bill 6: Increases the minimum wage to $15 in FL. Click here to read bill

"The fact that you have to continuously think about this versus that, or bus fare versus food, those are the kinds of considerations that these folks are making every year that are a challenge," he said.

Bullard is a sponsor of Senate Bill 6, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Opponents say that would hurt businesses and cost jobs, but studies have shown a higher minimum wage can be an important economic stimulus.

Despite adjustments over the past decade to Florida's minimum wage in response to inflation, Bullard said, too many workers still are living in poverty. Ideally, he said, the minimum wage should be even higher than $15, which he called a compromise.

"We also understand the constraints that fall upon small businesses, other business that may have a hard time reaching the ultimate level of where the minimum wage should be," he said, "but let's make sure we move in a positive direction."

The lawmakers were challenged to live on $17 per day because that's roughly what a worker earning minimum wage is left with to cover food, transportation, and entertainment after paying taxes, housing and utilities.

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