Maui residents join statewide sign-waving in support of minimum wage increase
A group of Maui residents joined a statewide sign-waving effort Wednesday in support of minimum wage increase and Earned Income Tax Credit.
The rally was held on Kaʻahumanu Ave. fronting the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center on Wednesday afternoon. It was among four events held across the state with similar efforts in Honolulu, Līhuʻe and Hilo.
With only days until their final deadline, organizers say lawmakers still haven’t reached agreement on bills to increase the minimum wage and extend a major tax credit.
They urged House and Senate leaders to finalize House Bill 510 and House Bill 2510 by their legislative deadline on Friday. “Together, those bills would provide significant economic relief for tens of thousands of working families struggling to make ends meet,” organizers said.
HB 2510 would increase the minimum wage to $18 by 2026. HB 510 would extend the state Earned Income Tax Credit for six years (it would otherwise expire this year), and expand its benefits to lower-income families.
Organizers say an $18 minimum wage would be $16,000 more in annual earnings for minimum wage workers. The EITC is worth hundreds of dollars to workers and their families each year, according to a report from Hawaiʻi KIDS COUNT.
The sign-waving events were organized by members of the Raise Up Hawaiʻi Coalition and the Hawaiʻi Tax Fairness Coalition.
Organizers say nearly three in five households are struggling to make ends meet, according to the Aloha United Way ALICE initiative. More than 88,000 workers make the minimum wage, according to Raise Up Hawaiʻi, and more than 200,000 residents were eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, according to the KIDS COUNT report.