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New Study Exposes $11.4 Billion Taxpayer Price Tag for Low Wage Jobs 2/3/2016

Large Corporations Pay Low Wages While Essentially Forcing Employees to Rely on Public Assistance

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2016
Contact: Jackie de Carvalho, Jackie.deCarvalho@seiufl.org561-287-2879
Jose Suarez, jose.suarez@1199.org305-340-1085
Read the full report here: www.seiufl.org/FightFor15

New Study Exposes $11.4 Billion Taxpayer Price Tag for Low Wage Jobs
Large Corporations Pay Low Wages While Essentially Forcing Employees to Rely on Public Assistance

Tallahassee, Fla.— A new report released today exposes the $11.4 billion price tag for low wage jobs. A press conference will be held Wednesday at 12:30 pm at the Florida Capitol to examine the alarming facts revealed in the new study, “The High Public Cost of Low Wage Employment in Florida,” written by FSU economics professor Patrick L. Mason.

The report exposes how Florida corporations use taxpayer-funded benefit programs to effectively subsidize corporate profits.  These corporations rake in more profits by paying wages so low that employees must rely on taxpayer-funded safety net programs like food stamps and public housing.  

Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Republican legislators continue expanding the corporate welfare system by pushing for an additional $770 million tax cut that would benefit undeserving corporations instead of focusing on policies that would assist working families, like raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour which would help more than 4 million Floridians and their families who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Gov. Scott and the Republican-led Legislature refuse to hear legislation, HB6 and SB109 that would put more money in the average Floridians pocket by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour,” said Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida. “Instead, they would rather handout handsome subsidies to large undeserving corporations by allowing them to continue to pay poverty wages by costing Florida taxpayers $11.4 billion each year.”

The study also shows that the average underpaid Floridian is 40 years old, female and earns an average of just $14,190 each year. Low wage workers are especially prevalent in industries such as retail (like Walmart), restaurants (like McDonald’s), and even health care. And, even though their work is generating massive profits for corporations, millions of workers are so underpaid that they simply can’t afford basics like rent, groceries, and transportation.

It’s a myth that these families who rely on public assistance in order to survive are unwilling to work. In fact, many working families are forced to depend on public assistance because they are paid low wages, have unstable work hours, poor working conditions, and limited to no benefits.

The report concludes that if corporations paid higher wages and provided benefits to their employees, taxpayer-funded public assistance to the economically vulnerable would decrease, saving taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.
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