133             
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES             H.R. NO.              
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                     HOUSE  RESOLUTION

  URGING A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF THE IMPACTS OF RAISING THE
    STATE MINIMUM WAGE.



 1        WHEREAS, the spirit and intent of the original minimum
 2   wage effected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
 3   was that the minimum hourly wage should be one-half the
 4   national average hourly wage paid to non-farm, non-supervisory
 5   employees; and
 6   
 7        WHEREAS, Hawaii's minimum wage is calculated using a
 8   standard based on a national average which does not take into
 9   account the cost-of-living differential between the State and
10   the national average; and
11   
12        WHEREAS, the legislature supports the fundamental
13   proposition that the minimum hourly wage paid to an employee
14   working forty hours per week in the State should yield a basic
15   "livable wage"; and
16   
17        WHEREAS, advocates of raising the minimum wage argue that
18   raising the state minimum hourly wage to a "livable wage" will
19   raise employees out of poverty and off the welfare rolls thus
20   resulting in a significant reduction in welfare payments from
21   the general fund and an increase in income taxes paid; and
22   
23        WHEREAS, the business community opposes raising the
24   minimum wage arguing that it will adversely affect the business
25   climate in Hawaii by:
26   
27        (1)  Making it costlier to hire entry level workers
28             resulting in fewer positions available; and
29   
30        (2)  Creating pressure to raise wages throughout the
31             affected business to account for differences in
32             experience and skill level, resulting also in an
33             increase in benefits linked with wage levels; 
34   
35   and
36   

 
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                                  H.R. NO.              
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1        WHEREAS, the minimum wage is traditionally viewed as a
 2   starting wage and most employees starting at minimum wage will
 3   earn higher wages within twelve months of beginning their
 4   employment; and
 5   
 6        WHEREAS, in order to make an informed decision on the most
 7   prudent policy regarding Hawaii's minimum hourly wage, the
 8   legislature must evaluate the most recent data relating to the
 9   interplay between Hawaii's economy and the minimum wage
10   including:
11   
12        (1)  The impact of raising the minimum wage on wage
13             earners as well as employers; 
14   
15        (2)  The demographics of employees earning minimum wage in
16             the State; and
17   
18        (3)  The most accurate method of determining a "livable
19             wage" for Hawaii's wage earners;
20   
21    now, therefore,
22   
23        BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the
24   Twentieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session
25   of 1999, that the Legislative Reference Bureau is directed to
26   conduct a study and evaluation of the interplay between
27   Hawaii's economy and the minimum wage including:
28   
29        (1)  The impacts of raising the minimum wage on wage
30             earners as well as employers;
31   
32        (2)  The demographics of employees earning minimum wage,
33             including age, gender, and length of time working for
34             minimum wage; and 
35   
36        (3)  The best method to determine a basic minimum "livable
37             wage" for Hawaii's wage earners based on the cost-of-
38             living in Hawaii compared to the nation as a whole
39             and other pertinent factors; 
40   
41   and
42   

 
 
 
 
 
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                                  H.R. NO.              
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this study be submitted to the
 2   Legislature at least twenty days prior to convening of the
 3   Regular Session of 2000; and
 4   
 5        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this
 6   Resolution be transmitted to the Director of the Legislative
 7   Reference Bureau.
 8 
 9 
10 
11                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________