On behalf of that man under the bridge

The House of Representatives in Hawaii is essentially telling that man under the bridge – too bad, too sad. Get a second, or third job, or do whatever, just suck it up and stop complaining is the message.

We’ve got ours and we’re going to protect those that have given it to us, so accept your lot in life and keep out of sight, please. As long as you stay out of sight, we will leave you alone but if you start cluttering up our sidewalks, we will be forced to sweep you deeper under that bridge or even further into the woods.

You don’t vote, you don’t pay taxes, and none of your friends are my friends, so take your dirty clothes, your broken down cars, and your family too, and just stay out of the way.

Every legislator working in that big square building called the Capitol will be getting a raise this year, in July to be exact. Their pay will go up by approximately $6,000 per year or $3 per hour.

Yes, their pay is going up but yet they refuse to even schedule a hearing on SB676 which proposes increasing the minimum wage from the existing $10.10 to $12, effective July of 2022. Mahalo to the Senate for passing it out. While it’s not enough, it’s better than nothing which is what the House is saying the working poor deserve.

We’ll take our $3 per hour raise now, this year and in fact, we will even take another $3 per hour in 2024 – but we will give you wretched people nothing.

Why? Because we can, they say with a smirk as they head to still yet another important meeting with important people.

Such is the arrogance of “House Leadership.”

This will be the third year House Speaker Scott Saiki has blocked an increase in Hawaii’s minimum wage.

Representative Richard Onishi, Chair of the House Labor and Tourism Committee has not scheduled a single House bill proposing to increase the minimum wage.

House Leadership is refusing to allow any public discussion of the issue whatsoever.

Finance Chair Sylvia Luke said recently, “It would be more rational for both the Senate and the House to take another look at it next year.”

Not this year says Representative Luke, Saiki, and Onishi. Not in 2019, not in 2020, not in 2021, not in 2022 either.

Let them eat cake and tell them to shut the front door on the way out is the clear and unequivocal message.

The Hawaii State Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has determined, “A single adult with no children needed to earn an hourly wage of $17.21 in 2018 to be able to meet his/her basic needs and to be economically self-sufficient.”

President Biden, every member of the Hawaii Congressional delegation and almost every single Democrat in the U.S. Congress is fighting for a national $15 minimum wage, and yet Hawaii’s overwhelmingly Democratically controlled State House (47 Democrats to 4 Republicans) is unwilling to give Hawaii’s working people any raise at all.

It’s sad really. It’s sad, it’s unjust, and it’s unacceptable.

If someone works 40 hours a week, they deserve to earn a wage that can provide a dry, safe place to sleep at night. While $12 won’t do that, it’s much better than the $10.10 they get now.

The research is clear and Hawaii’s own recent history proves it to be true. Modest incremental increases in the minimum wage phased in over time, do not result in job losses, increased bankruptcy, or excessive inflation. What actually happens is increased spending that benefits both workers and the economy as a whole.

Hawaii’s workers deserve respect and they deserve a wage increase, just like the entire legislature will be getting this year.

Please take a moment and share your thoughts on this important topic with your own Representative who represents the district where you live and vote. They will no doubt profess support for an increase, and then they will pivot to “But this year is probably not the right year for this to happen.”

Remind them then, that 26 other states are increasing their minimum wage this year. Remind them that they failed to increase the wage in 2019. And remind them also that they themselves are getting a big fat raise this year.

Ask them about that man under the bridge, and tell them that you will be thinking of him when you cast your vote in August of 2022.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve now as a volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am also currently the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In a past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my web site AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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6 Responses to On behalf of that man under the bridge

  1. PAMELA BURRELL says:

    Disgusting ! Hard to believe..no humanity. They can take their ReynSpooner shirts and shread it! ( is Reyn Spoonerr still in biz😂) Thank you for all the hard work and effort.. BTW your granddaughter is very very cute!

    >

  2. I am so upset about Legislators getting a $6,000 pay increase this July.
    Wrong.
    What is that exactly per Hour?
    Too many citizens of Hawaii are struggling.
    $15 an hour is reasonable. Period.

    • garyhooser says:

      Thank you for being upset…you/we all should be. The $6,000 a round number represents 10% of the average legislative salary which is now at $62,604 and is being increased to $68,868 in July 2021. And then increased again to $74,160 in 2024. If you convert the $6,000 to an hourly rate based on 40 hours per week and 52 weeks it comes to $2.88 per hour. HOWEVER legislators don’t work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year…but they will say “they are always on”…so…I’ve chosen $3 per hour as their real increase…but this is on the very low side as many legislators probably work only half time and thus it would equal a $6 per hour pay increase in July of this year…and then the same amount again in 2024.

  3. Ingrid Peterson says:

    Shared on Facebook, tagging my friend, new State Rep. Patrick Pihana Branco, whom I’ve already been lobbying via a phone conversation directly with him.

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