Aloha Fellow Republican, 

Senate Democrats are moving quickly with a bill that will drastically hike the minimum wage, scheduled for a hearing on Monday, January 24 at 3:00 in the Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts. Senate Bill No. 2018, “Relating to Minimum Wage,” will raise the minimum wage to as high as $18 per hour if passed, and that’s not a raise for workers, it’s a job killer for local small businesses. 

We need your help within the next 24 hours to submit online testimony in opposition to this bill. This is urgent that you, your ohana, your friends, and all your neighbors submit testimony early, because if the committee receives a groundswell of early opposition, they may even be persuaded to simply not hear the bill at all and delete the measure from their Hearing Agenda.

Because the Legislature is currently closed to the general public, the only way you can submit testimony on SB 2018 is to register online at the State Capitol website with a free account, and then submit testimony on SB 2018’s web status page. (Watch this short information video provided by the Legislative Reference Bureau on how to register for a free State Capitol account if you are not familiar with the process.)

Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t know what to say or are shy about submitting comments. All you have to do, once signed into your State Capitol account, is navigate to SB 2018’s page (click here), click the blue button on that page that says, “Submit Testimony” and follow the instructions to use the online web form to select “Opposition” to the bill. 

In the testimony form’s comment section, you can simply say “I strongly oppose this bill and urge you to defer this measure.” Or, if you’re feeling opinionated, you can write a stronger response. But whatever you do, make sure you tell the committee that this bill shouldn’t go forward.

Let’s be clear: Many of our people are low-income, working poor who are currently being paid minimum wage. And many of us started our first jobs as minimum wage employees. We completely understand how hard it is to make ends meet in a place as expensive as Hawaii, let alone in the middle of an inflationary crisis. 

But raising the minimum wage will backfire, because instead of putting more money in people’s pockets, the minimum wage is a barrier to full employment. How, you ask? First, it’s an anti-competitive practice that large corporations support to keep small businesses from rising up. 

Big companies can afford to pay higher wages, but mom and pop small businesses operate on razor-thin margins and higher minimum wages means less employees they can hire and less profits they can use for increasing production and diversifying their services. It also makes the job market hypercompetitive, because businesses are more likely to require more qualifications for the entry-level pay, blocking many people from getting a job in the first place. 

Second, how many of you remember the days when you could pull up to a gas station, and an attendant would come out, wash your windshields, check your oil and tire pressure, and pump your gas for you? It’s been a while since that’s been a thing, because gas stations can’t afford to have employees do that for you, due in large part to the minimum wage. Minimum wage increases are barriers to full and part-time employment. 

Democrats don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re going to try to use emotional arguments to cast this as a battle for equity and progress. The truth is, raising the minimum wage will increase disparities among our poorest and most vulnerable populations, and it will take Hawaii backwards even further. If the minimum wage is $18, those costs will be passed on to consumers who already can’t afford fuel, food, clothing, and healthcare.

A far better solution is to make the money already in your pocket buy more, rather than giving you a token hourly increase, only for you to find out you still can’t afford the things you need. Cutting or abolishing the General Excise Tax – especially on food items – would make everything you buy considerably more affordable. 

Getting a Jones Act exemption for Hawaii, or abolishing the Jones Act, would also increase the supply of goods to Hawaii and lower the price of living in a more substantive, meaningful way.

And most of all, we as Republicans believe that personal income taxes in Hawaii are too high. Putting more money in your pocket and allowing you to keep more of the money you worked so hard for will make Hawaii a place where wealth creation, not just treading water, leads to better, more equitable outcomes for our people.

Don’t listen to Democrats who try to put Hawaii locals on a guilt trip for opposing job-killing policies like a minimum wage increase. If Democrats weren’t so consumed with banning things, micromanaging people, and rigging the economy so that only certain friends of the government prosper, you wouldn’t need to be a multimillionaire just to live a middle-class lifestyle here in Hawaii. 

As your Hawaii Republican Party Chair, I want you to know that I am concerned about you and your family’s economic prosperity and success. There is nothing I want more than for you to be able to see the American Dream realized for you and your children’s children. I don’t just want you to be a renter; I want you to be an owner, and the only way we can achieve that is if you have more money in your pocket through savings and economic opportunity.

Please be sure to submit your opposition to SB 2018 as soon as you finish reading this. We will follow up with you once the hearing on SB 2018 is finished, and let you know if any additional action is needed.

As always, God bless you, and thank you for being a valued member of your Hawaii Republican Party!

Lynn Finnegan

P.S. – Help us FINISH THE FIGHT for freedom and donate $25, $50, or $100 now to go towards a Republican victory in Hawaii’s November election! As Ronald Reagan famously said, “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the HEAT.” We’re going to turn up the furnace of freedom in these islands, and with your help, we will win back Hawaii in November!

Watch this Prager University Video and learn more
who would benefit from a minimum wage increase.
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