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Florida Senator Highlights Difficulty Of Living On Minimum Wage

Florida Senator Dwight Bullard is living on minimum wage this week, and the Miami Democrat has just a little over a dollar left to spend. But, advocates for Florida’s underserved say the legislator’s circumstances don’t even approximate those of someone truly in need.

Senator Bullard said living on minimum wage is harder than he thought it would be.

The reality is that the average minimum wage worker in Miami Dade County is living in terms of available income once they’ve figured out their housing situation and paid those bills, they’re only living on about $57.62 a week,” Bullard said.

Bullard said after buying groceries for the week and paying for public transportation, he has about a $1.50 left to spend. But Karen Woodall, the executive director of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, said Bullard’s experience pales in comparison with what someone who actually lives on minimum wage goes through.

“Someone who has been living on minimum wage and doesn’t have access to health care or health insurance and has an old car that doesn’t run now because they couldn’t afford to get it repaired and doesn’t have access to public transportation or if they do have access to public transportation can’t afford to use it all the time, is living with a whole different set of circumstances,” Woodall said.

Still, Woodall praises Bullard, saying she thinks any effort to draw attention to the difficulties those on minimum wage face is a good thing. Bullard is throwing his weight behind a national push to increase the federal minimum wage and he said he’s considering bringing state legislation forward.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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