We believe there are other options. Hawaii has access to additional resources. At the close of last fiscal year, Hawaii had a cash surplus and rainy day fund totaling more than $1 billion. Congress recently appropriated $863 million to our state government with hundreds of millions more for our counties as part of a $2 trillion stimulus package—and lawmakers are discussing additional stimulus funding.
State lawmakers also oppose salary cuts. Senate President Ron Kouchi (D, Kauai, Niihau) and House Speaker Scott Saiki (D, McCully, Kakaako, Downtown) issued the following statement:
“Although Governor Ige has the unilateral authority to impose furloughs and salary cuts, we do not agree with such action. We urge the Governor to obtain better data and analysis before he makes this decision. We also urge him to act on all alternatives, just as the National Governors Association did when it called on Congress four days ago to provide an additional $500 billion to the 50 states to stabilize state budgets due to tax revenue shortfalls.
Although we disagree with Governor Ige’s proposal, the Legislature will work with him to assess and pursue all options.”
Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) issued the following statement:
Pay cuts by the Governor is a bad idea and contrary to the spirit of the Payroll Protection Act to keep our employees whole.
During family or corporate emergencies, borrowing money is the way to go. Hawaii has millions in special funds squirreled away in the Executive Branch—we could borrow from them in the next few months.
Pay cuts to teachers and first responders, including our healthcare workers, is cruel and unusual punishment. If Gov inflicts this on the people of Hawaii, they should be exempt and without furloughs.
— April 15, 2020