Without a living wage we have no future
Originally published in The Maui News, February 26, 2019
Both SB789 and SB1248 increase the minimum wage, but they fall short of the $17 per hour wage that’s needed for full-time workers to support themselves and afford their basic needs. I am a sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The minimum wage directly affects me and students around me. It is becoming impossible to attain an education without ending up with thousands of dollars of debt. I myself work a minimum wage job to support myself and pay for my education. I earn $10.10 an hour. Considering how expensive it is to live here in Hawaii, this is in no way a living wage, and neither is $12.
I want to attend graduate school as do many students I know, but without support from my parents, this is impossible because the minimum wage is so low. Students and working families deserve a living wage. They do not deserve to have multiple jobs and still be houseless.
We must move with urgency and improve this bill and raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour; $12 is not a living wage, the people of Hawaii deserve better. Young people are continually told that we are the future, but we have no future here if the minimum wage doesn’t go up to $17 and also keep up with inflation in the coming years.