Fast-tracking Minimum Wage Bill

Just about everyone at the Square Building on South Beretania is either trying to get re-elected, raising campaign funds, making nice-nice with the governor or trying to figure out which bills they should support or fight to the death, no matter what.

Such a bill is present in the House of Representatives: HB 2580, Relating to Labor, Minimum Wage; Employment.

The bill annually increases the minimum wage Jan. 1 2015, to Jan. 1, 2017. This means that on Sept. 30, 2017, and thereafter, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations is required to adjust the minimum hourly wage in accordance with the Honolulu region consumer price index.

HB 2580 is on a fast track. It already has been introduced and passed First Reading in the House, and has been assigned to hearings in the Labor and Finance committee.

Then, like magic, the minimum wage, after several hearings, will end up at $9.50 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

There’s more.

On Sept. 20, 2017, and Sept. 30 of each year thereafter, the DLIR shall calculate and adjust the minimum wage rate to take effect the following Jan. 1.

The current state surplus will be spent well, and in a decade we will have a lot of happy workers around town, with automatic hourly raise, every year until Sept. 20, 2017. Our surplus is sizeable, and there’s enough for everyone to go around.

The only people left out of this happy hour are taxpayers, who at one time would have enjoyed some kind of tax rebate. After all, when there is such a big surplus, one of the reasons for it is the taxpayers paid too much in taxes that year.

But in an election year with so much at stake, there is little hope of a tax rebate of any size.

It appears certain the surplus will help people get re-elected, and they’ll have enough left over to “invest” in capital improvements. Should be an exciting week for the Democrats.