State Representative Amanda Murphy is loading up on some groceries. Or at least what she can afford on a minimum wage salary.
$85 bucks for the week.
“There’s no Panera Bread, no out to dinners,” she said.
After food and gas, there isn’t money left over for her doctor appointment either. So, she canceled.
“It was really upsetting to know that something so simple, you can’t do,” said Murphy.
Murphy and 16 other members of Florida’s Democratic caucus are taking part in the minimum wage challenge, learning what it’s like getting by on $8.05 an hour.
But the Democrat from New Port Richey acknowledges this experiment isn’t the same as living it.
“One week if nothing. I can push off things I need for one week,” she said.
Some Florida lawmakers are pushing to nearly double the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Murphy said while a raise is needed, that’s probably too high.
Pasco resident Kristina Alonso agrees.
“Someone who wants to be a Wal-Mart cashier for the rest of their life making $15 an hour, that’s not fair to the people who worked their butts off to get to that point of making more money in management positions,” said Alonso.
Pasco Republican state committeeman, Bill Bunting told me the minimum wage challenge is grandstanding by Murphy and she’s just doing it to appeal to her constituents.
But, she said it will help her do her job in Tallahassee.
“It’s about being able to understand better and have that empathy that you need when you are up there making laws,” said Murphy.
Murphy who also works as a financial planner, did look into taking public transportation to help her budget. But she said there wasn’t a way to get from her West Pasco home all the way to downtown Tampa.