Hawaiʻi minimum wage hike and tax refund bills signed into law

Gov. David Ige today signed bills into law that will boost minimum wage to $18 by 2028 and expand tax refunds. 

Act 114 increases the minimum wage from $10.10 per hour to $12 an hour starting Oct. 1. 

The minimum wage will then rise by $2 increments according to the following schedule:

• $14 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2024

• $16 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2026, and

• $18 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2028

Act 114 also makes the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent and refundable, increasing the income of working families.

Ige said more than 190,000 Hawaiʻi workers will benefit from the wage increases, which will help with housing, food, healthcare and other necessities. 

“The minimum wage increases will also give our economy a boost, as these families have more income to purchase what they need from local businesses,” he said in a news release.

Raise Up Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Tax Fairness coalitions applauded legislation, calling it “historic.”

The second bill, now Act 115, puts more money directly into the pockets of Hawaiʻi residents by providing tax refunds to taxpayers and dependents.

It provides a tax refund of $300 for taxpayers who earn less than $100,000 a year (or couples earning less than $200,000), and $100 for taxpayers who earn $100,000 or more (or couples earning $200,000 or more).

The Department of Taxation anticipates that it will begin issuing the tax refunds in the last week of August, and it will provide more details in the coming days, the release said.

Ige first proposed a tax refund in his 2022 State of the State address given the strong revenue projections, and the state Legislature was able to increase the amount that will be returned to Hawaiʻi taxpayers.

“At the start of the 2022 legislative session, we made a commitment to support programs and policies that would help our residents get back on their feet. Both bills represent a collaborative effort to bring the people of Hawaiʻi some relief as we continue to recover from the two-year pandemic,” Ige said.

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