Governor Ige unveils legislative package aimed at tackling income inequality, raising minimum wage
Joined by state senators and the House of Representatives, Governor David Ige made public a plan that he hopes will take center stage at the upcoming legislative session.
"It's an effort for all of us as a community to align our priorities and really make action happen," Governor Ige said.
Each of the bills focus on different areas. The first would increase the minimum wage incrementally to $13 an hour by 2024.
The second bill increases access to child care for kids that are 3 to 4-years-old. According to the state there is currently 20,000 keiki without access to childcare.
The third bill calls for a new state agency to oversee construction of education facilities by speeding up and streamlining the process.
The final bill asks the state to build thousands of affordable housing units, something Governor Ige says is desperately needed.
"Obviously there are lands in West O'ahu that are primed and ready to go but we are certainly looking at affordable housing across the state as we know that every community needs access to affordable homes," Governor Ige said.
Faith Action for Community Equity, a non-profit that has worked to promote more affordable housing, is concerned that 50% of the units would be for families earning 140% of the area median income. It claims that would put a price of a unit at nearly $900,000.
According to lawmakers they are ready for a push back.
"This is our starting point and I welcome the debate and I do welcome the criticism. We produce better bills. After everyone in our community has put in their information of what they think," Representative Tom Brower of House District 22.