Increasing costs on struggling Hawaii small businesses could not come at a worst time
HONOLULU, February 8, 2021—A bill to boost Hawaii’s minimum-wage rate to $12 an hour comes up for a possible vote this afternoon, and the state’s leading small-business association is urging a quick, decisive rejection of the idea.
“First of all, Hawaii should wait to see what Congress does with President Biden’s call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage contained in his budget proposal and what it does with a separate bill, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which does the same,” said Melissa Pavlicek, Hawaii state director for NFIB, the nation’s largest and leading small-business association.
“Both the federal and state proposals are bad ideas at the worst possible time. It remains to be seen what Congress will do, but the Hawaii Legislature could put an end to Senate Bill 676 this afternoon and by doing so send a powerful message that everything possible will be done to help our small businesses reopen and those already open to stay open.”
The Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts will hear SB 676 today in Room 225 at the State Capitol beginning at 1 p.m. In a letter to the committee opposing the measure, Pavlicek wrote, “Federal stimulus programs were welcomed assistance and overall effective as a ‘bridge’ to economic recovery. And though consumers were given a substantial income boost, regulations and uncertainty kept much of it from being spent. Many small firms depend on foot traffic, which continues to be widely discouraged due to the pandemic or outright prohibited. In short, small business is struggling to survive.”
NFIB also released its latest COVID-19 poll of its small-business-owning membership last week, which found 74% of small employers saying raising the federal minimum-wage rate to $15 an hour would negatively impact their business. Fifty-eight percent report that they would reduce their number of employees, 60% report they would reduce employees’ hours, 67% report they would leave open positions unfilled, and 56% would increase the use of less expensive or part-time employees.
Keep up with the latest Hawaii small-business news at www.nfib.com/hawaii or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_HI.
For more than 77 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.
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