With a majority of Florida counties still below pre-recession job levels, local leaders and community members called on Rick Scott to address the unequal economic recovery and cost of Scott’s policies for Volusia and Brevard families
Between Volusia and Brevard, nearly 165,000 households qualify as “working poor”
Daytona Beach, FL – As Rick Scott enters his final legislative session, For Florida’s Future, a working families advocacy group, joined local leaders and community members from Volusia and Brevard County to discuss Florida’s unequal – and in many places, dismal – economic recovery under Governor Scott. Despite the official end of the recession and a recovery that was underway over a year before Scott took office, Florida is still struggling to recover behind other states and is well behind the rest of the country as a majority of Florida’s counties, including Volusia and Brevard, report having less jobs today than before the recession hit a decade ago. The ‘Rick’s Recession’ tour is visiting areas still struggling through recession-level economic numbers nearly 8 years after Scott took office.
Rick Scott’s claims that Florida’s economy has “completely” turned around is deeply out of touch with reality for most Florida families. Nearly half of Florida households (45 percent) qualify as working poor and struggle to afford even basic necessities like transportation, prescriptions and housing despite being employed. For those struggling Floridians who haven’t given up looking for work altogether, a combination of poverty-level wages, rising cost of living, and lack of higher-paying jobs has blocked many from regaining their pre-recession stability. Meanwhile, Rick Scott has spent his time and state resources as governor slashing and underfunding public education, refusing to expand Medicaid for as many as 1 million Floridians, and setting up corporate slush funds that divert millions in taxpayer dollars to the same wealthy corporations who help fund Scott’s campaigns.
As Scott enters his final year in office, it’s time for him to face facts on what most of Florida has actually been experiencing throughout his almost eight years in office, start focusing on policies that help working families, and put an end to Rick’s Recession.
Volusia County Councilwoman Joyce Cusack:
“Right now, 45% of Florida households qualify as working poor, meaning they struggle to afford even basic necessities like housing and food despite being employed. I’ll say that again: nearly half the households in this state qualify as working poor after 7 years under Rick Scott…The more we ignore this reality and neglect to invest in our communities that are struggling, the more Florida families will find themselves one big bill like a car repair, house repair or medical bill away from financial disaster. It’s time for our leaders to stop trying to tell Floridians a fairytale story about our economy and instead get back to focusing on Florida’s families. The fact is after Scott’s two terms in office, millions of people across the state and in communities like Daytona Beach – where we are standing today – are still living in a recession. There’s no one else to blame. This is Rick’s Recession, and he needs to own this and get to work on fixing it.”
Volusia and Flagler Central Labor Council President Josh Leclair:
“Despite year after year of increased productivity, Florida’s families are not being included in the benefits their labor is producing – as they are forced to work longer hours, many working multiple jobs, making less money to make ends meet in an economy where everything costs more than it used to…Many of our local business get by, but customers still have less money in their pockets than they did before the recession. And less money in the pockets of our neighbors means less money into our local stores and businesses…It comes as no surprise then that Florida ranks as the fifth highest in income inequality in the country with the top richest 1% right now making 35 times more than the bottom 99%, and that is sickening. Enough is enough. After nearly 8 years under Rick Scott, our workers, my neighbors, and my family – we are tired of living in Rick’s Recession. We want politicians who will fight for us – not someone who will go on another national tour looking for out-of-state corporations to funnel our tax dollars to. We need to invest in the talent and the families here in Florida now.”
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