By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The House Labor and Public Employment Committee yesterday passed a bill raising the state hourly minimum wage by 25 cents next year and by another 50 cents the following year.
The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee.
How to be heard
House Bill 166 would raise Hawaiis hourly minimum wage to $5.50 on July 1, 2002, and to $6 on July 1, 2003. The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee. The committee chairman is Dwight Takamine, D-1st (Hamakua, N. Kohala), 586-6200, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Under the bill, the state minimum wage would increase from $5.25 to $5.50 on July 1, 2002. The wage would go up to $6 in 2003.
Committee Chairwoman Terry Nui Yoshinaga, D-22nd (M¯iliili, McCully) called the bill a "symbol of helping the neediest and providing incentives" for those coming off welfare.
She also said that even though less than 3 percent of the working population is paid at minimum wage, she wanted to delay the increase until next year to give businesses time to prepare.
The last minimum wage increase was in 1993, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The minimum wage in California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska is higher than in Hawaii.
Businesses have opposed increases in the minimum wage, saying it would eliminate jobs and cause inflation. Social service and labor advocates said an increase would help the working poor.
The Senate Labor Committee this week passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $5.95 on July 1 and thereafter adjust the wage annually based on the state consumer price index.
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