December 9, 2022

Minimum wage bill progressing through Hawaii Legislature

A Senate bill that would have raised Hawaii’s minimum wage incrementally to $18 an hour over the next four years did not advance, but a similar House bill is making progress, according to the House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti.

Senate Bill 2018, which garnered much support and opposition during a committee meeting in January, is no longer active, Belatti told The Center Square. The bill failed to meet its deadline to be heard by the House, and never made it out of the Labor and Tourism Committee, Belatti said.

However, House Bill 2510, which also would raise the minimum wage incrementally to $18 an hour remains active. Belatti said the House bill now will be “the vehicle” for making the minimum wage higher.

“For both of these bills, both chambers of Hawaii’s Legislature are committed to increasing the minimum wage,” Belatti said. “But we continue to remain a little bit apart as to how fast we’re going to raise it, so the timing of it, as well as other measures to help support working families.”

Additional measures, which were not included in the Senate bill, reflect the more comprehensive approach the House bill takes to the minimum wage issue, Belatti said.

“It’s not just about minimum wage,” Belatti said. “It’s about tax credits for working families as well as how do we provide some relief to small businesses that will be hardest hit by increasing the minimum wage.”

Belatti said the House is looking for ways to soften the blow to small businesses, including an increasing tip credit that would help restaurant owners.

The latest House draft would make the state’s earned income tax credit refundable and permanent and provide for carryforward of non-refundable credits previously claims. The bill raises the minimum wage to $18 by 2028.

The Senate has amended HB 2510. Its version would raise the minimum wage incrementally, starting in October 2022 until it reached $18 in January 2026. The draft makes no mention of the earned income tax credit or the carryforward of non-refundable credits.

Belatti said she’s hopeful there will be a compromise.

HB 2510 is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

This article was originally posted on Minimum wage bill progressing through Hawaii Legislature

Sydney Boles