HONOLULU (KHON2) — House and Senate lawmakers came to an agreement Friday on gradually increasing Hawaii’s minimum wage. The Bill was a hot topic throughout the legislative session with both the Senate and House introducing their own versions of the measure.
In the conference committee Friday, the Senate’s latest draft was approved. Boosting the current minimum wage from $10.10 to $12 an hour starting Oct. 1, 2022 then increasing it to $14 in 2024, $16 in 2026, and $18 in 2028.
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Supporters of the bill were vocal from the start, citing the rising cost of living for the importance of the measure.
“Everybody knows somebody or struggling themselves that are just trying to make ends meet and that’s in large part due to the low wages everybody makes,” said Nate Hix, director of Living Wage of Hawaii.
However, some are concerned including the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.
“This is going to have a very adverse effect, especially on the small mom and pop stores here in Hawaii,” said Tina Yamaki. “I mean, they haven’t budgeted for minimum wage going up here on Oct. 1, 2022. You may probably see a lot of your items going up in price because we have to pay for this increase somehow.”
A final vote will be made on Tuesday. If passed, it’ll head to the governor’s desk.
“The governor had come out early in January in support of the Senate bill already,” Hix said. “So it would also be quite a bit of a shock for the governor to make a U-turn and go back on what he had sort of supported earlier. So all the signs point to this happening.”
Senate leadership said lawmakers will continue to work on addressing issues with minimum wage and cost of living moving forward.
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“We haven’t gotten a raise in over four years now. So getting something going and this is getting us on the right track and is obviously way better than nothing,” Hix said.