Minimum wage increase not a simple plan - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Minimum wage increase not a simple plan

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Dean Ekman is a small business owner, literally.  He operates in the tight quarters of his Pit Stop food truck four days a week.

"We sell sliders and tacos, french fries, bacon mac' and cheese balls and kim chee fried rice balls".

He also shares the space with his one employee.  As an employer, Dean can see the need to raise minimum wage, still it's difficult for him.

"You're looking at your profits and you have to realize how to take something out of your profits in order to add to your profits" he said of the conundrum.

HPU faculty member Feifei Zhu understands.  "Some businesses, although they want to support that, they can be driven out of the market because that kind of profit cannot be sustainable".

That's sobering for a business that doesn't want to pass along the added operating cost to the consumer. 

Regardless of what the employer has to face, employees are constantly faced with making ends meet in the state with the highest cost of living in the country.

Employees like Dean.  "Yup, I have a regular job too, just to keep things going".

He bartends five nights a week in order to supplement his income from the truck.   He agrees that the minimum wage should be increased to meet inflation.

So too does Dr. Zhu, although she says legislators need to do their due diligence by creating models and collecting data before assigning an increase.

"We have to look at the cost and the benefits, because any policy or decision comes with both sides of the story."

Dean Ekman is a small business owner, literally.  He operates in the tight quarters of his Pit Stop food truck four days a week.

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