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Thursday, April 16, 2020
Rep Case, Legislators Challenge Ige on Union Pay Cuts
By News Release @ 3:56 AM :: 1096 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Labor, COVID-19

JOINT STATEMENT OF SENATE PRESIDENT RON KOUCHI AND HOUSE SPEAKER SCOTT K. SAIKI

News Release from Hawaii Legislature April 15, 2020

Senate President Ron Kouchi and Speaker Scott Saiki issued the following statement in response to Governor Ige's proposal to impose a 20% reduction in state employee salaries:

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. Case disputes Ige’s claims on federal funds to help proposed pay-cuts

KHON: … The state has received 867 million dollars from the Federal Government’s 2 trillion dollar CARE Act stimulus plan.

“I know that there has been lots of discussion about the 867 million dollars that we are getting from the federal government, but not a single penny can be used to support existing state programs or any of the employees currently employed by the state government,” Ige said about proposed 10-20 percent pay cuts to state employees like teachers, nurses, EMT’s, firefighters, and police officers in the midst of what he calls a 1.5 billion dollar budget shortcoming in the next 15 months.

Ige is technically correct. The US Treasury says that the CARES Act requires that the payments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund only be used to cover expenses that-

(1) are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19);

(2) were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and

(3) were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.

Representative Case says money from the CARES Act should be used for covering revenue losses.

“There are some limitations to be using it but if the available state revenues are utilized for those purposes that might free up some space for him (Ige) to come in and allocate some money and maintain some of the state payrolls.” Case said.

“Our intention in Congress was to allow the states and counties to be able move the money around that we funded to them to their own needs.” …

read … Rep. Case disputes Ige’s claims on federal funds to help proposed pay-cuts

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