Categorized | Government, News

State begins to identify additional spending reductions

MEDIA  RELEASE

Gov. Linda Lingle announced Friday she will hold an emergency meeting with her cabinet directors over the weekend to identify additional spending reductions needed to close the growing budget shortfall.  

The reductions will likely include additional layoffs in order to realize labor savings. 

“In light of the additional $98 million revenue shortfall projected by the Council on Revenues yesterday and the unacceptable and unrealistic position taken by the Hawaii Government Employees Association on our Administration’s latest offer, we must take the difficult step of identifying additional spending cuts, including a possible further reduction in force,” Lingle said.  “This is not something we want to do.”

The move, however, is necessary to meet the constitutional responsibility to balance the budget, she said.

“I continue to believe that furloughs would be preferable for both the state employees and the public,” Lingle said. “After discussions between our negotiating team and the HGEA and providing them with what we considered to be a very fair plan, I truly believed that we were very close to reaching an agreement that would have avoided layoffs.  However, we cannot accept the response we received from the union leadership yesterday.” 

The state had made a similar offer to the United Public Workers (UPW) prior to the Council on Revenues meeting and received no response. 

Given the size of the budget shortfall, the governor indicated the additional reductions would be substantial and focus on a major restructuring of departments and state government, including the possible elimination of some programs and services. 

Lingle also announced the three-day furlough for roughly 900 non-union employees will start Sept. 16. Initially it had been hoped that the furlough of non-union employees could be aligned with the furlough of union employees.  

Since the HGEA’s offer is not acceptable, the furlough of non-union employees will move forward.

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