Economic Insecurity and Minimum Wage
Despite promising signs, Oahu’s economy continues to struggle. A common element through our “talk story” meetings was the citizens of Hawaii were struggling with lowered pay and lost hours. Key in our conversations was the discussion of the long-term viability of Waikiki (especially as the unsolved homelessness crisis degrades our brand as an international dream destination), as well as the feeling that the cycles of boom and bust in the real estate market are an unstable basis for lasting job growth. Hope lies in large public infrastructure projects like the rail or the redevelopment of the Aloha Stadium which would provide temporary relief, but there were real questions about the future of these projects.
As my last note on the future of economic security, there was a sense that the pay scale in Hawaii was not keeping pace with our cost of living allowance and that the increasing pattern of foreign investors and owners are decreasing the numbers of jobs in our State.