All tagged Small Business
If Hawai’i were to raise the minimum wage to $17 per hour by 2025, a spam musubi’s price might increase from $1.55 to $1.62 (7 cents); the price of bag of chips might go up from $2.88 to $3.02 (14 cents); and the price of a fast food combo meal might rise from $6.59 to $6.91 (32 cents).
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
Consumer spending is two-thirds of our economy. So when we scratch our heads about why Hawaii’s GDP is not growing as fast as the rest of the country, the answer lies in how much money our residents have to spend. At $10.10 an hour, our low-income workers clearly do not have enough to buy food and pay rent — in short, be “self-sufficient.”
Increasing the minimum wage is a priority for the Hawaii Democratic Party, which passed a resolution last year advocating for a living wage in Hawaii. Currently, the minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10 an hour, which equates to about $21,000 annually for full-time workers.
And why $17 an hour? The State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism in its 2016 study, says that a single Hawaii worker needs at least $17 an hour to survive.
Who would be a typical minimum wage worker in Hawai‘i? Research shows that, of the 88,000 minimum wage workers in Hawaiʻi, the majority are female, over 25 years old, and not trainees.
Business groups like to talk about personal responsibility. Why then do they cling so tenaciously to the idea that taxpayers and the state must subsidize the cost of labor, and pay for the fallout from poverty and growing houselessness? The current state of things is untenable. As lawmakers we have exactly one tool that will lift hundreds of thousands out of poverty: enact a living wage. It is unconscionable to not do so.