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Elyse Siegel contributed to this report.
Florida’s gubernatorial candidates had an embarrassing moment during Monday’s debate on CNN, when both Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Alex Sink were unable to correctly name the state’s minimum wage:
Q: What’s the minimum wage in Florida, Mr. Scott?
Q: Ms. Sink? Is that right?
Scott sheepishly smiled and Sink grimaced when they realized they were wrong.
Florida’s minimum wage matches the federal level. The moderators of the debate did not follow-up and ask the candidates whether they support raising — or even keeping — the minimum wage.
The minimum wage has become a major campaign issue this year, with some Republican candidates — such as West Virginia’s John Raese — saying they would like to abolish it. Other candidates, such as Connecticut’s Linda McMahon, have had to backtrack and/or further explain their position on the federal law when seeming to imply that they would consider reviewing the policy.
The Florida Agency of Workforce Innovation recently announced that the state minimum wage would not rise in 2011, the second straight year it’s held steady at the federal level. Each year, Florida officials calculate the minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index on Sept. 30. Since this year’s calculation was below the federal minimum wage, it was not increased.