Minimum Wage Set To Increase

( – For better or worse, as American workers worry that their wages are being consumed by skyrocketing inflation, many state and federal legislators are looking at Hawaii as a test case for what might happen as it raises its minimum wage.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers in Hawaii passed a bill that raises the state’s minimum wage to $18 per hour in the next six years.

The higher minimum wage is only set to kick in by 2028, adding $7.90 to the state’s current $10.10 hourly minimum wage. Hawaii’s $18 minimum wage would become the nation’s highest; however, many states raise their minimum wage to reflect the cost of living. This could see states like California — which has a $15 minimum wage — reach $18 by 2028.

After achieving support from Hawaii’s Democratic-controlled state legislature, the bill now heads to Democrat Governor David Ige, who is expected to sign it into law.

Although the minimum wage will reach $18 by 2028, House Bill 2510 increases the minimum wage in smaller increments over the next few years. The first increase takes place on October 1 of this year, when the minimum hourly wage will increase to $12.

In 2024, wages will increase to $14 per hour, followed by an increase to $16 per hour in 2026 and another $2 raise in 2028, culminating in the $18 per hour minimum wage.

The bill’s supporters believe the increase is necessary, considering the state’s high cost of living, which data gathered through MERIC places Hawaii as the state with the highest cost of living.

However, businesses in the state have expressed misgivings, with some saying they’ll have to reduce their staff or shut down as they would be unable to afford the higher minimum wage.