Insights on PBS Hawai‘i Raising the State’s Minimum Wage

Hawaiʻi’s minimum wage is $10.10 per hour, which is more than the minimum pay in more than 30 other states. The cost of living in our island state is the highest in the country, with housing leading the way. State lawmakers are considering several bills that would raise the minimum wage to as much as $15 per hour by 2024. The next INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAIʻI looks at the pros and cons of raising the State’s minimum wage, and how it will affect our local economy. (The program aired on Thursday, March 7th).



HRA Member Monica Toguchi Ryan was a panel member on PBS Hawaii’s Insights to discuss legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage.


  • Hawaii’s Minimum Wages Increase 4 times in the past 4 years from $7.25 to $10.10. Business are still trying to catch up with price increases and a shrinking bottom line.
  • Hawaii’s Minimum Wage has already caused inflation and further increases will continue the trend.
  • Minimum Wage Increases result in wage compression and push all wages higher which is also inflationary and reduces spending power.
  • State legislators should work to reduce the cost of living for Hawaii’s lowest income earners via an increase in the Earned Income Credit.
  • Hawaii’s employers are mandated to pay Health Care Benefits to all employees working 19 or more hours per week, which equates to about $3.25 per hour.
  • Many tipped employee already earn well over a living wage. An increase in the Minimum Wage without a substantial increase in the Tip Credit will hinder business owners from increasing the wages of non-tipped employees.
  • The Tip Credit should be based on 25% of Hourly Tip income reported by employees ensuring the employee earns at least 3 times over the Minimum Wage than the Tip Credit they would be subject to. Ex: $5 Tip Credit mean employee is earning $15 over the Minimum Wage, is fair and ‘means’ based.
  • Many employees are not productive enough to be earning $15-$17 per hour.
  • The Minimum Wage was never intended to be a Living Wage. It is designed to set a reasonable level of pay for basic work performed by Children and Part Time workers.
  • Increases in the Minimum Wage will increase pressure on employers to reduce the number of employees and or their hours worked per week, resulting in lost jobs and lower income.


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