Pay cuts extended for state legislative, executive and judiciary branches

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - During this legislative session more than 3,000 bills were introduced. Lawmakers approved 250 of them. One bill that came down to the last day focused on a five percent pay cut for judges, the governor and lawmakers themselves.

"I just can't see people facing their constituencies saying you the people of Hawaii you take a hit but we the legislators are immune from that, that is unacceptable," said Rep. Gene Ward, (R) House Minority Leader.

There were four representatives who voted against the pay cut because of the legalities with the bill itself and because it doesn't just cut lawmakers pay but all judges, state directors and executive office officers as well.

"This bill is flawed and unconstitutional. What this is going to effectively do as drafted is give legislators a huge pay cut in 2014 while subjecting executive and judicial members to huge pay cuts in the range of $30,000," said Rep. Della Au Bellati, (D) Makiki, McCully.

Lawmakers say they simply ran out of time to fix the bill so they voted on it anyway and it passed. Now some hope the governor vetoes it so they can come back into session and fix it.

"For me Senate Draft 2 became the poison pill as far as the legality, the constitutionality and I'll leave it at that but that's politics I have to deal with," said Rep. Calvin Say, (D) Speaker of the House.

"Taking a pay cut like all the people in Hawaii are taking a pay cut is the right thing to do, we're mandated to do it and I think all these technicalities are all shibai excuses," said Rep. Ward.

The bitter side of politics came out Thursday as well when Rep. Jessica Wooley called out those that killed her homestead land bill.

"I hope those of you that may have caused this to happen will receive your due," said Wooley who represents Kahaluu, Punaluu and Laie, on the House floor.

Over on the Senate side the issue of gambling was brought up yet again.

"Having a casino of course will not be a panacea, it will not solve all our problems but it will certainly go a long way toward creating a better tax base and it will revitalize Waikiki and it is a better way for us to go." said Sen. Malama Solomon, (D) Hilo, Waimea, on the Senate floor.

But that's an issue that will have to be held until next session.

On May 26 the Council on Revenues meets again with its new economic forecast. If the projections are bad enough, that along with the salary pay cut issue, could be enough to call a special session.

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