Lingle proposes salary freeze for some state employees - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lingle proposes salary freeze for some state employees

Governor Linda Lingle Governor Linda Lingle
Ralph Bruinsslot Ralph Bruinsslot
Anita Rosales Anita Rosales
Brickwood Galuteria Brickwood Galuteria

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Linda Lingle's proposed $22 billion budget for the next two years, slashes some preventive health programs, tightens tax laws and puts pay raises on hold.

Everyone may be feeling the economic pinch, as our money just doesn't seem to go as far. For over 200 state employees that will be the case. They're scheduled for raises, but a boost in pay may not be coming.

Some island residents are facing the holidays with layoffs and lower pay on their minds.

Along with Hawaii companies cutting back, the state has also slashed budgets.

And now, the governor is taking aim at salary increases in the upcoming budget.

"We anticipate no pay raises for any government employee over the next two year period," said Governor Lingle.

90 judges were slated to receive a 10 percent increase in pay this July, while over 40 executive branch employees, including the governor, were expecting a five percent bump in pay.

That increase puts many over the $100,000 mark. So cutting raises is a fiscal idea that resonates with some residents.

"If government officials were getting pay raises and bonuses it would give the wrong message," said Honolulu resident, Ralph Bruinsslot.

"Our economy is pretty bad all around, so I am glad they are cutting back where they need to," added Anita Rosales.

While the governor's proposed bill would freeze next year's pay for lawmakers, she's also asking the Legislature to give up a 36 % increase in pay that would take effect January 1st.

That increase would boost pay from $36,000 to $48,000 a year.

A substantial amount for our part time legislators. But one approved by the salary commission two years ago when Hawaii's economy was healthier.

"There are sacrifices that people have to make - but I think the men and women of the Legislature deserve what's been set for this increase," said Senator Brickwood Galuteria.

Lawmakers won't even meet until after the pay increase takes effect, so in order to follow the Governor's advice, they would have to pass a bill that would cut their pay in the future. But many lawmakers feel the increase is a fair one.

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