State lawmakers set to vote on salaries bill
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A final vote on the bill affecting top executive, judicial and legislative branch salaries is set for Thursday. The measure extends a 5% pay cut for another two and a half years. Representative Marcus Oshiro was one of the lawmakers that introduced the salaries bill in January.
"I thought fair is fair. Treat all state workers the same, including ourselves," explained Oshiro.
The measure would extend the salary decrease for the governor, lieutenant governor, department heads and deputies, state court justices and judges, as well as state legislators. The salary cut, which began in 2009, is set to expire June 30.
"And if it does, and we don't do anything, then we get a salary increase actually going back to what it was before. People are not going to be happy about that when we're cutting salaries and we're cutting programs," said Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom.
Here is a look at some annual salaries if the 5% cut continues:
Lt. Governor $114,422
Dept. Heads $103,512 - $108,973
State Legislators $46,273
Circuit Court Judges $136,127
The Judiciary did not take a position on the bill, but submitted testimony pointing out that the salaries of trial judges in Hawaii, based on a cost-of-living comparison, rank last in the nation.
After months of discussion, it all comes down to the last day of the session.
"I think there was controversy on how it was going to be phased in, between the executive, judiciary and legislative branch," said Oshiro.
Under House Bill 575, the pay cut would be extended until the end of 2013.
"I think it will go through tomorrow. I think it's the right thing to do right now," predicted Oshiro.
The pay cut for lawmakers alone saves nearly $1.2 million through the next two fiscal years, according to Oshiro's office.
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