Hawaii Minimum Wage Increases To $10.10, Becomes Third State To Reach President Obama’s Goal

Hawaii’s minimum wage has been increased to $10.10 per hour, making Hawaii the third state to adopt President Obama’s goal of having a $10.10 minimum wage.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, a fast food workers strike demanded a $15 minimum wage for working at McDonald’s. Interestingly enough, there is a fast food joint called Moo Cluck Moo where employees start at $15 hourly while the business still manages a profit. Of course, nothing beats Switzerland’s proposed minimum wage, which would have given workers in the lowest paying jobs four thousand dollars per month.

The $10.10 minimum wage hike increases Hawaii from $7.25, which was the last raise back in 2007. But the minimum wage increase will not kick in automatically. Instead, the higher wages will be phased in gradually over a period of four years, meaning that wages will increase by 75 cents annually.

Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the $10.10 minimum wage bill into law on Friday. The governor believes that the minimum wage should provide a living wage for every citizen:

“I always thought it’s not a minimum wage, it’s a survival wage. And in today’s world, that minimum wage is not a survival wage, certainly in Hawaii. The take-home wage compared to the cost of living has steadily gone down. This country is about moving up.”

Senator Clayton Hee, a Democrat who represents Kaneohe, says he remembers growing up poor, which gave him an incentive to support the bill:

“I grew up thinking meat came from a can, not a cow…because that’s all we could afford. That’s what local people do. We make ends meet.”

Hee also says that he wished Hawaii’s minimum wage could be even higher, but state lawmakers had to work out a compromise. Critics claim that businesses will be harmed by increasing the minimum wage to such a high level, but Hee believes a higher minimum wage will in fact improve the local economy on the islands:

“Because most minimum wage earners are second income earners, most minimum wage earners are women. Forty percent are homeless and this is the state with the highest cost of living. The Reserve Bank of Chicago predicts that for every dollar that we increase the minimum wage results in $2,800 spent by that working family.”

Do you think the $10.10 minimum wage is too high, too low, or just right for Hawaii?

[Image via BusinessWeek]