Submit comments by Wednesday, January 30, at 9:30 AM on HB 96: Relating to Minimum Wage
Late testimony will be accepted up until Thursday at 9:30 AM and will still be helpful.
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To the House Committee on Labor & Public Employment: Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on HB 96, which would authorize the counties to establish a minimum wage that is higher than the state minimum wage. While counties should be able to raise their minimum wage rate higher than the state's rate, first the statewide floor needs to $17 an hour. According to the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the self-sufficiency income standard for a single person without keiki in Hawai‘i was close to $16 an hour in 2016. So after adding inflation, the income needed to meet an individual's basic needs in Hawai‘i is $17 in 2019. But our state's minimum wage is stuck at $10.10 an hour, or only $21,000 a year for full-time work. With the highest cost of living in the country and rocketing housing costs, it's no wonder Hawai‘i has the highest homelessness rate in the nation. That's why I urge your Committee and all of our state's lawmakers to raise Hawai‘i's minimum wage to at least $17 per hour first, and then also allow counties to raise their wages higher. Our low-wage workers and their families can't survive on $21,000 per year and can't wait any longer for a raise. Mahalo for your consideration of my comments.
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