Hawaii Governor Wants To Slash First Responders' Pay By 10% To Cover Budget Gap

Holly Matkin

First responders, teachers and other state workers would have their pay cut under Hawaii Governor David Ige's proposal.

Honolulu, HI – Hawaiian law enforcement officers and other first responders could see their paychecks slashed by 10 percent in coming weeks in an effort to prevent financial collapse created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Governor David Ige.

Ige has also proposed cutting salaries for teachers and other state public workers by as much as 20 percent, the Star Advertiser reported.

During a press conference on Wednesday, the governor confirmed that pay cuts and furloughs are being seriously considered, but said that no final decisions have been made.

Ige also vowed that he and his administration would be among the workers who would see their wages decrease, the Star Advertiser reported.

Hawaii State Teacher’s Association (HSTA) President Corey Rosenlee notified union members about the “ominous” proposal in a letter on Tuesday night, KHON reported.

“In a meeting at the state Capitol, we were informed that the governor wants to implement a 20-percent salary cut for most public employees, including educators, and a 10-percent cut for first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, nurses, and EMTs,” Rosenlee wrote. “These cuts could occur as early as May 1.”

If approved, the pay reductions would remain in place for two years, Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) Executive Director Randy Perreira said in a statement, according to the Star Advertiser.

“All public workers deserve support, not pay cuts,” Perreira argued. “They are keeping vital and essential government services running and many are putting their own health and safety at risk because they haven’t been given adequate personal protection equipment (PPE).”

In some areas in the state, deputies have been provided with a single mask, while Department of Land and Natural Resources conservation officers were instructed to use “expired, damaged, moldy and ill-fitting PPE” left over from a 2011 conference, Perreira noted.

According to Ige’s budget and human resources directors, the global pandemic has cut off “a major source of state revenue” that could result in the state suffering an economic collapse, Rosenlee explained, according to KHON.

“We were not given any formal proposal, and it is unclear if the governor intends to implement these cuts as furloughs or across-the-board salary decreases,” the union president noted.

Rosenlee said that Ige’s proposal is unacceptable.

“While we recognize the coronavirus has already started to cripple Hawaii’s economy, no one can be sure of its long-term impacts,” he wrote. “We believe cutting salaries for tens of thousands of state workers is rash and will hurt our state even more.”

Rosenlee noted that Hawaii had a “rainy day fund” totaling more than $1 billion, in addition to a cash surplus at the end of the last fiscal year.

“Congress recently appropriated $863 million to our state government with hundreds of millions more for our counties as part of a $2 trillion stimulus package—and lawmakers are discussing additional stimulus funding,” he added.

Rosenlee said the state government needs to consider alternatives before slashing the wages of first responders and teachers.

“HSTA and other public sector unions have made it clear to the governor that this will exacerbate our weakening economy, hurt government employees, and potentially prolong this crisis,” he wrote. “We stand united and will not accept the governor’s plan without exploring every last alternative to keep these harmful cuts from happening.”

If Ige’s proposal is implemented, it would be the first time the state has resorted to pay cuts since the Great Recession over a decade ago, the Star Advertiser reported.

“We do not agree with this action,” State House Peaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi told KGMB in a joint statement. “We urge the governor to obtain better analysis before he makes this decision.”

As of Friday, 541 Hawaiian residents had tested positive for coronavirus, and nine have died, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.

Comments (30)
No. 1-24
flybynight
flybynight

Aren't you a Democrat? Just raise everyone's taxes. That how you people usually handle that.

JBoH
JBoH

Here's a thought...let's pay politicians and First Responders what they're worth:

Politicians $0.00 and a 20% pay increase for First Responders.

Can't remember the last time a politician saved a life...

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Look at the Hawaii 2021 Executive Supplemental Budget.

There is $millions and $miilions of wasteful spending (start at page 11)...

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

As much as it sucks for the first responders and other government employees, if dreaded private sector employees get haircuts in their pay, so should public employees.

ikaika
ikaika

And this is why so many people detest Governor Ige. In other states first responders are getting hazard pay or bonuses, but he wants to cut their pay. Unemployment is high due to the lack of tourism, but that will turn round. It's insane to even think about reducing the pay of public employees for two years. Dumbass.

BAH330
BAH330

Another brilliant liberal idea. Moron.

Green Lily
Green Lily

The first responders often put their lives at risk to save others. Instead of cutting their pay by 10 percent, why doesn't the governor and his cronies seek other methods during this crisis. However, to carry this out for two years, is asinine. There has to be something else in your budget that could be cut out.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Must be an idiot liberal.👎

ProudLEOwife
ProudLEOwife

Douche nozzle

Lochemet
Lochemet

Why first responders?? They are doing the incredibly difficult work! I would like to see the Governor give up his paycheck first, for the cause.

Woobie46
Woobie46

Inflamed, I wrote this before reading other comments, so it may be the exact same as what they already wrote: This asshat needs to give 100% of his salary for the next five years (governor or no) and think about what it's like for the people that work their tails off and get very little. He's a complete jerk and has NOT got my vote! These people are so greedy, they seem unable to help themselves...anywhere they can put their filthy hands on other people's money, they are RIGHT THERE. We gotta get rid of this trash in EVERY state in the Union...NOW!

Schick56
Schick56

He must be hitting that Maui Wowee, fuckin IDIOT, 😠

Charlie531
Charlie531

It would nice for a change to have every politician To send 50% of their paycheck to fulfilled their own promises to their voters . I am sure their riches will cover for much of what they spend . Left wing liberals love to reign with others people money.
Leave first responder alone!!!

shooter
shooter

Um, how much does the state spend on the homeless?

How about trying that first?

Justdone
Justdone

I can see him not getting re-elected. What a stupid idea and shame on him for even considering such nonsense. I guarantee he won’t cut his salary or those in office but I betcha the politicians will quietly give themselves a raise. Such BS!!!!

Debluvsanimals
Debluvsanimals

Wake up Hawaii. Vote RED!!

Szrudy3
Szrudy3

The governor should decrease their income by 40% and lose their police protection unless they are willingly to pay for any security. Plus drive their own cars, no government cars, pay for their own gas.. And even if that is not enough, carpool with other elected officials and high paying salaries
When they have to suffer like the rest of the state, maybe they will understand

unclebubby
unclebubby

All that sun in Hawaii must have fried the Gov's brain

Kaykayd
Kaykayd

And yet people that make over a million dollars are gonna get a 1.7 million dollars in tax write offs in the new CARES act, freaking ridiculous!!!

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

I think he could use a nice Hawaiian Punch

Russwall
Russwall

Unbelievable!!

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

So the Governor proposed a 10% decrease in salaries of public employees. The lowest paid people out of all professional careers. This Governor has no sense of reality! The very ones that keeps them safe, teaches their kids and they want to screw with there pay!!

GSDLUVVA1
GSDLUVVA1

i think it's high time there's an outside INTERNAL AUDIT!!! something just does NOT seem right!!! that man does NOT seem to be able to manage a "budget"??!!! WTH??!!! His 1st responders and the like should NOT be the ones getting pay REDUCTIONS!!


News

FEATURED
COMMUNITY