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State taking proactive steps in response to shutdown


Acting Governor Shan Tsutsui has announced the State of Hawaii is under a temporary hiring freeze on vacant positions within the Executive Branch.

The Acting Governor has signed an Executive Memorandum from Finance Director Kalbert Young authorizing the temporary general freeze, which is effective immediately.

The temporary freeze is necessary to conserve dwindling state department financial resources that are being expended to provide services the federal government is currently not funding during the shutdown.

“As the federal government shutdown approaches its third week, we continued discussions with department directors and decided to take a proactive approach toward minimizing the impact on our state by instituting a temporary hiring freeze on vacant positions,” Tsutsui said.

“The deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling is also quickly approaching, and we are acting now to ensure we are best prepared for the potential financial impact,” he said.

The memorandum will allow for specific exemptions in order to accommodate for critical positions at the Hawaii State Hospital, Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, and state Department of Health. The state Department of Education (including Charter Schools), Hawaii State Public Library System, Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, and University of Hawaii are exempt from the freeze but are being asked to take similar precautionary measures.

This is expected to be only a short-term and temporary measure.

“The State of Hawaii is being pragmatic about what federal and state services it can financially cover over any prolonged period,” Young said. “While we do not know how long the shutdown will last, we do know that departments are already struggling to cover missing federal funds and they are worried about what could happen to all public services if promised federal funds do not return immediately. Looming matters like the debt limit issue will adversely affect the state and national economy, as well as many public programs. By curtailing state expenditures, we may be slightly better prepared to fund public services longer. All of the state’s revenues, including general and special funds, could be affected.”

State officials have been assessing day-to-day impacts caused by the federal shutdown and have been in contact with Hawaii’s congressional delegation.

The state will continue to closely monitor the situation in the nation’s capital.

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