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Charlie Crist op-ed blasts Rick Scott’s “disappointing” minimum wage views

By on December 31, 2013

In a new op-ed from Charlie Crist, Gov. Rick Scott is wrong — about the economy, the minimum wage and Florida in general.

Citing a 2010 incident, which took place shortly after Scott took office, the newly elected governor did not know Florida’s minimum wage. That is not a good thing, Crist says, especially for the leader of a state knee-deep in the Great Recession.

Add to that the “disappointment” Scott will feel when the state’s minimum wage increases to $7.93 on Jan. 1, 2014, despite repeated objections.

Crist reminds readers that although the state is rebounding economically, the hard times are not quite over yet for everyone. Many Floridians — from food service to retail workers — still feel the pinch of the “global economic collapse.” They are the people left behind as the financial pendulum swings in the Sunshine State.

Florida’s minimum wage is at the center of this disconnect, and Crist understands its value as what could give many citizens a “fair paycheck.”

Not only is Scott on the wrong side of the minimum wage issue, but Crist also puts him on the wrong side of increased access to health care, a position Scott once supported, but by 2013 he backtracked.

Raising the minimum wage is one of the hottest Democratic topics for 2014, and (according to Crist) it is something Scott “just doesn’t get.”

And that alone is what makes him wrong.

Crist’s op-ed is as follows:

Minimum Wages, Minimum Economy

Right before Rick Scott was elected in 2010, he was asked about the minimum wage in Florida. He didn’t know what it was. Then, when he found out that the people of our state were receiving a 6-cent increase in 2011, he said he was disappointed. I’m sure he’ll be equally disappointed to read that despite his objections, the minimum wage in Florida will increase to $7.93 an hour on the first of the year.

This is good news. Higher salaries mean more Floridians can provide for their families, buy more essentials, and also try to get ahead.

And we should do more.

Many Floridians are still feeling the pain of the global economic collapse. These are fellow Floridians who prepare and serve food, provide retail service, and keep Florida beautiful. Not only do they deserve a fair paycheck, they deserve our respect.

As the national economy improves, low-wage jobs are growing in our state. Unfortunately, many Floridians filling these jobs were laid off from higher-paying, higher-skill jobs. Thousands of workers are now just trying to keep work while they return to their field, learn a new skill set, earn a diploma, or just find a better paying job— all of the right things. And Rick Scott is making it harder for them to get ahead.

While I was Governor during the global recession, you and I made some tough decisions together, like saving thousands of education and first responder jobs by accepting funds from the Recovery Act. We didn’t do it because it was popular. We did it because it was right for the people, and it was right for the economy – just like raising the minimum wage. No other criteria should matter.

Unfortunately, Rick Scott just doesn’t seem to get it.

Displaced workers and low-wage workers deserve to earn a living wage, and working Floridians also deserve affordable health care coverage – the same coverage that Rick Scott supported, and then retreated from during the 2013 legislative session. Again, working against the people.

Raising the minimum wage in Florida is right for our people and our economy.

Rick Scott is wrong.