The following letter was recently sent to the leadership of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Please sign on to this petition to add your voice!
Hawaii Needs a Raise!
Dear Senate Ways and Means members:
Our organizations are united in supporting an increase in the minimum wage this year, and we respectfully ask you to hold a hearing on this session’s bill, SB 2609, which just passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. We believe we should have a vigorous public discussion based on this year’s bill.
We understand that there are several sides to this critical issue. Indeed, the differing views about how much the wage should increase, how to schedule the increases if they are enacted, and how to deal with the tip credit underscore the importance of holding a hearing that is open to the public.
We understand that it is technically possible for the chair to bypass the hearing process using bills from last year’s legislative session, but on an issue as important as minimum wage, we do not believe that such a move serves the public interest. SB 2609 differs significantly from the 2013 bill, SB 331, and we should base the discussion on this year’s proposal. This year, dozens of organizations, businesses, and hundreds of individuals have let their voices be heard and testified on the proposed minimum wage increases, and their input should be a key part of the decision-making process.
Our support for this increase is based on our understanding of the lives of Hawaii’s working poor, as well as the inherent immorality of the current situation. No one working 40 hours a week in Hawaii should have to live in poverty. Our families are struggling to pay for essentials, and this financial strain contributes too many other social problems related to poverty. We were disappointed last year when the Legislature was not able to pass an increase in the minimum wage, but we are hopeful that this year, we will make significant gains for Hawaii’s people.
We look forward to participating in a robust, serious, and public debate of the merits of SB 2609 and we sincerely urge you to hold a hearing before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means as soon as possible.
Thank you for your attention,
Americans for Democratic Action Hawai’i
Catholic Charities Hawai'i
COFA Community Action Network
Family Promise of Hawaii
Hawai'i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice
Hawai’i Commission on the Status of Women
Hawai’i Women’s Coalition
League of Women Voter's Hawai'i
Maui Marshallese Women's Club
Pride at Work Hawai’i
Progressive Democrats of Hawai’i
The Christian Ministry, Wailuku
UNITE-HERE Local 5