HSTA President Corey Rosenlee told a National Education Association tele-town hall audience Thursday about the HSTA’s successful efforts to fight a proposal that would have cut the pay of teachers and other state workers in the islands.
“There is no immediate need to consider pay cuts or furloughs. This is the last thing that anyone wants to do, and I’m hopeful that we will find ways to narrow the budget gap," Gov. David Ige said Tuesday.
The chairs of the state Senate Ways and Means and state House Finance committees say they believe they can balance the state budget that’s been hit hard by a lack of tourism during the coronavirus, without having to reduce public employees’ pay in the months ahead.
For the first time since his administration floated the unwise idea of 20-percent pay cuts for state employees, including educators, Gov. David Ige appears to be considering a federal low-interest loan program suggested by the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and other unions to avoid those reductions.
Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, wrote Gov. David Ige Friday, telling him that while she understands the fiscal challenges that the coronavirus presents to Hawaii, “reducing the pay of teachers and other public employees will only compound this crisis.”
Union leaders offer more than 15 budgetary options to avoid docking state employees' pay because of plummeting state revenues caused by the coronavirus.
Pay cuts for Hawaii state employees seem less likely after a new $470 billion coronavirus relief plan appeared ready for Congressional approval, while the president said further aid to state and localities would be discussed as part of the next aid package.
Gov. David Ige told a news conference Monday, “I just really want to assure everyone that salary reductions would be the last resort” in dealing with plummeting tax revenues because of the coronavirus.
Legislative leaders joined HSTA educators in opposing Gov. David Ige's initial pay cut idea, and he said Wednesday “no decisions have been made yet.“
HSTA has always opposed laws that focus on penalizing our youth for the use and possession of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. We do not want laws like this to contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.