Political Radar


March 18th, 2014

The state House Labor and Public Employment Committee on Tuesday tweaked the Senate's version of the minimum wage bill.

Rep. Mark Nakashima, the committee's chairman, said lawmakers amended the draft so the wage would increase to $10.10 an hour by January 2018. The Senate version brought the wage to $10.10 by January 2017.

The committee also swapped in the House position on the tip credit. Business could deduct $1 from the minimum wage on workers who earn at least 250 percent of the poverty level, or about $30,000 a year.

The state's $7.25 an hour minimum wage has not been increase since 2007.

7 Responses to “$10.10”

  1. Tiki808:

    Will this wage increase affect the whole economy of Hawai'i? High school students in school and working nights and weekends will be the most targeted group. In the family and helping out is the main idea for the wage hike. Any where else?

  2. Bart Dame:

    Yesterday, the House Labor Committee agreed with the Senate bill calling for a $10.10 minimum wage. This morning, I received an email from Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, weighing in with a recommendation Hawaii pass a bill for:

    "...at least $9.25, we can lift a mother of two above the federal poverty line."

    What's the saying? "A day late and a dollar short."

    Rep. Hanabusa's stated goal of lifting "a mother of two above the poverty line" is admirable. But her math, or that of her campaign staff--is way off. Here is the actual math:

    Federal Poverty Level for a mother with two children, a family of 3 in Hawaii for 2014 is $22,470.

    Her proposed minimum wage at $9.25 x 2,000 hours = $18,500

    If Congresswoman Hanabusa is truly hoping to lift a working mother, with two children, above the poverty level, she would be calling for a minimum wage of at least $11.24, NOT $9.25.

    $22,470 / 2000 working hours = $11.235 an hour.

    Yet, Rep. Hanabusa, takes the unusual step of intervening in a local legislative debate to give legitimacy for a $9.25 wage? Since no bill is alive calling for a $9.25 minimum wage, where did Hanabusa get the $9.25 figure from? A quick review of the bills shows her close political ally, David Ige, along with Senator Donna Kim, introduced such a bill at the beginning of the session:


    Both Senator Ige and Senate President Kim have been dragged along by the flow of events and are believed to be supporting the compromise reflected in yesterday's hearing. Meanwhile, Congresswoman Hanabusa, who apparently did not get the memo and whose staff appear to not own a calculator, comes galloping in posing as a friend of working women by saying a $9.25 minimum wage would be good enough.

    Both of our US Senators, Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, have joined a majority of their Democratic colleagues in supporting a bill to raise the federal minimum to $10.10 over 2 years. Let's hope Hanabusa is not telling them $9.25 is adequate for the working mothers in Hawaii. Thank you very much.

  3. Randy Swindell:


    Keep up the good work! $11.24 an hour for the Minimum Wage would give workers almost the same buying power that I had when I entered the workforce @ minimum wage in the early 70's. The only redeeming feature of the bill Legislature is now working on is that Minimum Wage workers will get an extra $20.00 per week if they have a 40 hour work week.

  4. WestSideTory:

    This debate is about income redistribution. Raising the minimum wage is actually just an attempt by liberals (progressives) to punish business owners by redistributing a share of their supposed wealth to their employees. It is just another attempt at class warfare. Unfortunately, in many cases the minimum wage increase results in price increases paid by the customers; customers who may be no richer than the workers whose pay increase they are being forced to fund.

  5. Hawaiino:

    West side Tory

    Harken back to a bygone era, when there was no social safety net. When a capitalist hero, the most succesful implementer of two production theories, mass production and vertical integration, broke the day wage barrier of his time and insisted that a days wage should allow the earner to not only get out of poverty but be able to buy luxury items. Such as cars. Like Fords.
    Visit Australia. Not a liberal paradise, certainly not a welfare state. Check out the minimum wage, more than $15 / hr. Unemployment less than ours. Burgurs cost a bit more, so do hotel rooms. But not double, because labor as a price component in production and agriculture is less than 40%, frequently less than 15%. Service sectors that are based exclusivly on labor are generally paying more than minimum already.
    BTW: I'm a small business man, a farmer actually, and I haven't paid minimum wage in years. I don't know many farmers who do, you can't keep good, stable, long term employees at below poverty line wages.
    Get real. People need to be paid to have access to and enjoy what our society offers. I'd rather pay $8.50 for a #3 at McDonalds (which is what they cost in Brazil and Australia) and have those employee s be able to afford a better life and there own #3 when they want it.
    "A rising tide lifts all boats" was a Reagan era aphorism to justify tax cuts, why isnt it relevant here?

  6. Bart Dame:

    Westside Tory,

    This debate is about DISTRIBUTION. What share of the money generated should go to the workers, to the owners, to the managers. Since the days of the New Deal, there was a social expectation that business owners had an obligation to take care of their workers by providing them enough income that their lives would get better, if they worked hard. That was a CONSERVATIVE approach which rewarded hard work and perseverance. But in about 1980, the "New Deal" started to fall apart, replaced by rather unashamed celebrations of selfishness, expressed in the writings of Ayn Rand, who actually wrote a book with the title, "The Virtues of Selfishness." That ideology was expressed, though with a genial spin, by Ronald Reagan and his "Reaganomics."

    In previous decades, increases in productivity were shared more equitably with employees, but that shifted at about that time, so the benefits increasingly went to the top and, after decades of a more egalitarian society, the rich DID start getting richer, the poor DID start getting poorer and the middle class began to collapse.

    The problem is not merely philosophical or "ideological." The changes in technology, the loss of manufacturing jobs to low wage countries, the collapse of the unions, etc., were all expressions of the changing economy. But the wealthy, in large part through their purchase of our politicians through campaign contributions, made sure their interests were always looked after and the new arrangements resulted in them getting an even greater share of the national income.

    Obviously, you are not obliged to believe in equality. Tories, by definition, do not. But let's not pretend the distribution of income in society is simply the result of "natural market forces" untouched by political decisions. The wealthy try to promote policies which shift distribution in their direction. Working and middle class people, are disadvantaged by our relative lack of wealth, but we can, potentially, make up for it with our numbers.

    So, yes, in the "debate" over income distribution, I think it makes sense we should leverage our democratic power of numbers to elect politicians in favor of a higher minimum wage and punish those obstructing the passage of a strong bill. Whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats. You can be assured the Chamber of Commerce, the NFIB and otehr business lobbying groups are engaged 24/7 with that goal in mind.

  7. Especially Incognito:

    This is payback for all those companies who did not pay their fair share of taxes. Sent jobs off to overseas, to 11 million plus illegal immigrants and those who feel entitled to scam stimulus funds. Rather than take pay cuts, CEOs and stock holders layoff workers. 1% making the 99% work and pay more taxes. Obamacare can work but the 1% don't want to pay more and lose profit for employees care. They want "slave labor".

    A comment again is still worth two cents.

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