State worker reacts to furlough

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The plan to ease the state's economic strain, likely affects you or someone you know. It's clear that many state workers are furious about the decision.

Governor Linda Lingle says she's giving it her all to come up with nearly $700 million the state doesn't have.

Lingle tells government workers take one for the team, but they're wondering why just them.

"I'm going to calculate my pay. $3000 a month," said a Hawaii state worker.

It's one costly click. One of Hawaii's nearly 50,000 state workers, rushed to her union's website "Pay cut calculator" Monday afternoon. She wanted to see how Governor Lingle's mandatory three furlough days a month the next two years makes a dent in their income.

"$7,553.58," said the worker.

Call her "Liv," for livid.

"I couldn't understand why the state employees have to bear the brunt of this whole situation, this whole crisis," said the worker.

Lingle says the state will save nearly 14% in gross pay. But, some argue the furlough will achieve the opposite of its intent.

"Receiving less money in my paycheck that means I'm going to be spending less. How can we stimulate the economy if we have less money to spend?," said the worker.

Labor is the biggest expense in the state's operating budget. While employee's understand the current fiscal emergency, they say, the cost cut move isn't fair and it singles them out. State workers will pay nearly 90% of the shortfall.

"I don't think it's fair that the government workers are being affected by this situation or targeted," said the worker.

While it was a difficult decision, the governor says it's either furloughs or firing nearly 10,000 workers. Meanwhile, the state worker's union may consider legal action to stop the salary cuts.