Good jobs are what Florida needs

Gov. Rick Scott announced last week that his second inauguration, on Jan. 6, will be preceded next month by “job jamborees.”

The events, Scott stated, “will highlight some of our growing Florida businesses and also be an opportunity to celebrate our economic progress while focusing on the work we have left to do in the next four years.”

Scott added that the focus of his administration will remain on

“three things —

jobs, jobs and jobs.”

That said,

Scott’s second terms needs to be about

good jobs, good jobs, good jobs.

From Halifax Media Group.

The governor’s attention to job growth has been good for both his political career, the state and many of its residents.

Yet a recent, thorough report,

a project of United Ways in Florida and five other states,

offers a stark reminder that having a job does not ensure economic survival.

The report is the product of a wide-ranging study by the ALICE Project.

The acronym stands for

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

http://www.newtownbee.com/news/news/2014/11/19/asset-limited-income-constrained-employed-united-w/241713

One purpose of the study is to determine how many people who are employed consistently struggle

to afford the basic costs of living, housing, care for family members (children and seniors), food, transportation, health care, taxes and some miscellaneous expenses.

The answers are:

a lot and too many, especially in Florida.

In Florida, the ALICE Project found 20 percent of households earn less than what’s needed to reach a “household survival budget” — an average of $47,000 annually for a family of four.

Add in the 15 percent of Florida families with incomes below the federal poverty level — about $23,000 for a family of four — and a total of 45 percent of our state’s households face ongoing financial hardship.

The project found that, in 2012

(the latest year for which comparable data was available),

54 percent of the jobs in Florida paid $15 per hour or less.

That percentage was the highest of the six states in the study;

the others were Indiana, Michigan, California, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Clearly, then, one of the challenges for Florida is to generate not only more jobs, but jobs that pay higher wages.

Affordable housing is another area where Florida has problems.

More than half — 55 percent — of ALICE households in Florida lacked rental housing that did not impose an extreme burden.

Those households paid more than 35 percent of their income on housing.

And,

second only to New Jersey, Florida had a high percentage of households experiencing an “unfilled gap.”

That gap represents the difference between a household’s cost of living and its income, government aid and assistance from nonprofit organizations and charities.

Scott and the Legislature cannot prevent all the challenges facing impoverished Floridians and those who have jobs but regularly struggle to meet basic costs.

But they can work to incentivize job creation that pays livable wages.

They can encourage the development of more affordable housing, through existing but underfunded programs.

They can help fill gaps by expanding access to health care for the working poor.

They can help parents with young children — and improve long-term education outcomes — by expanding pre-kindergarten in public schools.

That all said,

Scott’s second terms needs to be about

good jobs, good jobs, good jobs.

From Halifax Media Group.

http://www.dailycommercial.com/

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