HONOLULU (KITV4) — For the past three years, state senators have pushed to raise Hawai’i’s minimum wage. Legislators now say that they will continue to pursue increases.

The last time Hawai’i’s minimum wage got bumped up was four years ago, from $9.25 to its current $10.10.

“It’s not the lowest in the country, but among some of the more expensive states to live in, we’re in sort of, kind of on the bottom of the list, sort of,” Sen. Brian Taniguchi said.

Taniguchi and several other senators recently introduced Bill 2018, which proposes to increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 by October, $15 in two years, and $18 by 2026.

“We feel that that’s enough time for employers to adjust,” Taniguchi added.

“Hawai’i has always been a champion for working class people, poor families…so we felt that we should be doing this because that’s been our tradition.”

The Hawai’i Chamber of Commerce generally supports a minimum wage increase, but president and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said the organization is surveying businesses across industries statewide to gauge what they feel is a reasonable raise.

“At this time, many of our local small businesses are still struggling,” Menor-McNamara said.

“It’s a challenging time. They haven’t quite come out of the past two years in the loss of revenue.”

Senators are expecting the House to introduce a similar bill, which is why they’re confident the political will is strong this legislative session to achieve a raise in the state minimum wage.

The bill’s next hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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