Patrick Murphy joins in SEIU Florida Minimum Wage Challenge

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U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy will try to stretch $85 over five days as part of the Florida Minimum Wage Challenge, the Jupiter Democrat announced Wednesday.

The Service Employees International Union launched the Minimum Wage Challenge to advocate for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.05 an hour.

“As living costs rise, hardworking families have not seen a pay raise for far too long, and they deserve better,” Murphy said. “A meaningful increase in our minimum wage would mean bigger paychecks for working families and more customers for small businesses. That’s exactly what Florida needs right now, and I will continue fighting every day to put our middle-class families first.”

SEIU came up with the $85 budget based on how much the average minimum wage worker has left over after housing expenses. A 40-hour week at $8.05 an hour comes out to about $285 after taxes, with the average minimum wage worker spending $200 a week on rent and utilities.

Challengers are encouraged to take public transportation, go on a grocery shopping trip and see what social activities are affordable with a $17 a day budget. The service industry union notes that actual minimum wage workers would need to spread that money over seven days, not five, which it says is “a little break” for challenge participants.

Murphy is the only one of Florida’s 27 representatives who has agreed to the challenge though many state legislators participated in the event in 2015. The first-term congressman is currently running against fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and a host of Republicans for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat.

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