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'Minimum Wage Challenge' underway in Florida

Posted at 12:11 AM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 00:11:04-04

Elected officials across the state are taking part in the "Minimum Wage Challenge."

On Wednesday, Senator Jeff Clemens and Representative Dave Kerner visited El Bodegon supermarket in Lake Worth as part of the challenge. They only had $17 to spend on food for their families.

The program challenges elected officials to live off of minimum wage for a week. Those living in Florida who make minimum wage earn $8.05 an hour.

During their trip to El Bodegon, Rep. Kerner says he was very cautious about what he purchased.

"You kind of pause at every corner-- and think 'Should I get this bread instead of that bread? Should I get a large amount? What happens if I run over?' It really makes you stop and think what these people go through on a daily basis," he says.

The representative says the challenge was "eye-opening" and "not a political stunt."

According to the Service Employees International Union of Florida, those earning 40 hours per week while earning minimum wage take home $322 per week.

But after taxes, that adds up to only $285 per week.

The agency did some research, and found many living off minimum wage only have about $12.14 a day to spend on food for their families.

Rep. Kerner says he supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but says the change will be difficult to pass in Tallahassee.

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