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Tue July 30, 2013
Local Politicians Spend A Week Trying To Live On Florida's Minimum Wage
Two South Florida politicians said a week spent just "getting by" -- has gotten to them.
Broward County Commissioner Martin Kiar and State Senator Dwight Bullard agreed last week to spend five days trying to live on Florida's current minimum wage of $7.79 an hour.
Kiar says the week-long budget he drew up for himself left only $106 dollars for food, travel and entertainment for him and his family.
"It showed me what thousands and thousands of South Floridians go through every single day of their lives trying to make ends meet," says Kiar. "Where they have to live on a very small budget, they're trying to feed their families, they're trying to get around. And there's just not enough [money] to do that."
Meanwhile, Bullard took on a similar challenge in Miami-Dade, where the cost of living is higher than Broward. After paying for the essentials such as rent and utilities, Bullard had only about $53 to spend on travel, leisure and groceries.
"In living the experience for a few days, I understand the necessity of moving Florida forward when it comes to our minimum wage here," says Bullard. "Although we're above the national average, I think we can do better."
The minimum wage challenge was organized by the Service Employees International Union and the non-profit advocacy group 1-Miami.
Both Bullard and Kiar say they're joining the national push to increase the federal minimum wage. Bullard says he'll sponsor a bill to do the same in Florida.