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'Loco moco is not $3 anymore,' Sen. Fevella says in support of a minimum wage increase

Kevin Schneider from Pixabay

The 2022 legislative session kicked off its first hearing and discussed a measure on minimum wage.

SB2018 proposes to incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage, currently $10.10 an hour. It would go up to $12 per hour beginning in October 2022 and $18 per hour by 2026.

The bill received 134 testimonies with mixed opinions. Many residents and government agencies showed support for the bill.

However, several retailers and business associations expressed their opposition, saying small businesses cannot afford an $18 minimum wage.

Retail Merchants of Hawaiʻi said if the minimum wage increases, so will the cost of products.

Republican Sen. Kurt Fevella disagrees.

He expressed his opinion at the hearing, saying, "Right now, gas prices is out the door. A carton of milk, everything has already been risen within the grocery stores and so on. But the minimum wage person who’s working there never seen an increase."

"And I'm talking about the last three years since I was here — how much a piece of steak costs now than how much it cost three years ago. So the prices has been going up, guys. Don't let the industry say any different," said Fevella. "Loco moco is not $3 anymore."

The Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts adopted the bill for a second reading.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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