Jobs and Economy

Senator Schatz is working to grow Hawai‘i’s economy for working families and the next generation by supporting small businesses, expanding tourism, and growing Hawai‘i’s clean energy sector.   Brian firmly believes that the best social program is a good job.

Senator Schatz is committed to making sure Hawai‘i families have a fair shot at attaining economic security.  As a member of the State Legislature, Brian voted to raise the minimum wage four times and in the Senate now, he’s fighting to raise the national minimum.  In the U.S. Senate, he is a leading supporter of the Working Families Tax Relief Act, which would extend the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.  To help families stretched thin, he’s working on an Opportunity Plan to create a better economic environment so families have the chance to move into the middle class. This includes instituting paid family and medical leave, increasing the minimum wage, enacting a child care tax credit, providing easier access to early childhood education, and ensuring equal pay for equal work.

Senator Schatz knows the needs of Hawai‘i’s small business community.  That is why he joined a group of Senators to promote new ideas for expanding opportunities for small businesses in growth sectors to create high-quality middle class jobs.  As part of this pro-jobs initiative, Senator Schatz introduced bills that would attract more investments to Hawai‘i, expand export opportunities, and create equal opportunities for Native Hawaiian small businesses.

As a strong advocate for Honolulu’s rail transit project, Senator Schatz is working with the Secretary of Transportation, Federal Transit Administrator, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure commitments that Honolulu rail will have the full federal funds it was promised.  This project will revitalize Hawai‘i’s local economy, improve people’s quality of life, and generate an average of 10,000 jobs each year.

Senator Schatz has also supported vital funding for federal small business programs, because investment in our small businesses will pay off for generations to come.  These programs benefit thousands of Hawai‘i small businesses by providing access to credit, training, and global markets.  In addition, he voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would ensure that brick-and-mortar small businesses are treated equally when competing with online retailers.

Eighty percent of the everyday goods we depend on are shipped into Hawai‘i’s harbors. That is why Senator Schatz worked with his Senate colleagues to pass the Water Resources Development Act, which would ensure the Army Corps of Engineers has the resources to maintain and improve our harbors so that Hawai‘i’s economy may continue to grow.

During his tenure in the State Legislature, Brian led the fight to expand and diversify Hawai‘i’s economy.  In the U.S. Senate, he will continue to find opportunities to leverage federal resources to seed new sectors and develop those that are already succeeding.

As Lieutenant Governor, Brian led the State’s energy initiatives, which included the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, a federal and state partnership that advanced renewable energy and energy efficiency in Hawai‘i.  Brian was able to foster discussions among key players in the energy sector, putting the State on track to achieve the most aggressive renewable energy portfolio in the nation.   The Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative has become a national model for clean energy growth, while creating new jobs and contributing to long lasting economic development.