Ige government continues to push for state workers on leave
HONOLUU (KHON2) – The governor continues to push for the leave option for state workers as the state’s economy continues to drop freely due to the pandemic. He must send a proposal to the state legislature by December 20, but a key lawmaker says there are ways to avoid pay cuts.
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Gov. David Ige has told unions he wants to lay off state workers two days a month for the next four years, which equates to a pay cut of around 10%. The chair of the House finance committee says there are ways to defer the vacation for at least two years.
“In our opinion, the discussion on leave is premature because where we actually see, in fact, a bigger blow would be in 2023,” said Representative Sylvia Luke.
Luke says the state faces a budget deficit of up to $ 1.8 billion over the next two years. It would have been more, but the governor took out a $ 750 million loan in November 2020. She says the state can make up some of the shortfall by not filling positions left open by workers leaving for the country. retirement, or around 2,000 workers per year.
She says that’s over $ 1 billion when combined with unspent funds from special programs. She admits that the next few years will still be difficult, but the state can avoid the worst-case scenario: layoffs.
“Some cuts in some programs will be inevitable and it may be necessary to cut some programs or consolidate programs,” said Luke.
Hawaii Government Employees Association executive director Randy Perreira sent a statement saying, “The pay cuts will likely drag us into a recession, knocking our already weak economy off a fiscal cliff… will have a devastating social impact on our state. ”
Even the rescuers sound the alarm on possible cuts. The state-funded Maui County Paramedic Association says, “The threat of losing emergency services in the midst of a pandemic is dangerously short-sighted and very real… and will make people wait longer for help when they call 911. “
The governor sent a statement saying, “For the first time in Hawaii’s history, the state had to borrow $ 750 million through bonds to help build up the payroll. I’ve always said time off would be a last resort, and yes, unfortunately, it’s still on the table. We are looking at all the options. Every department and agency will be affected as we strive to balance the state budget. “