HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle announced today she will propose a bill to suspend for two years pay raises for state elected officials and top administrators in the executive, legislative and judicial branches to help address projected budget shortfalls. The proposed suspension of salary increases would save the state $4,114,620 over the next two years.
The bill would have to pass this legislative session in order to delay the pay raises that would otherwise occur on July 1, 2009.
The proposal would impact 208 individuals who are currently scheduled to receive salary increases as prescribed by the Commission on Salaries’ recommendations issued in 2007.
“We are asking our state employee unions to forego proposing raises in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations. Thus it is important that state leaders also make sacrifices and lead by example,” said Governor Lingle. “At a time when many Hawai‘i residents are losing their jobs or seeing their salaries frozen or reduced, it would be inappropriate for state leaders to accept pay raises. We respect the work of those who served on the Commission on Salaries, but recognize they made their recommendations almost two years ago when economic and fiscal conditions were much different.”
The affected individuals include 42 executive branch officials who are due for salary increases of 5 percent on July 1, 2009 and 3.5 percent on July 1, 2010, including the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Governor’s chief of staff, and 39 appointed directors and deputy directors of cabinet departments.
Also affected by the proposed two-year salary freeze would be 90 judges, including the justices of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and all state court judges, who are scheduled to receive salary increases of 10 percent effective July 1, 2009 and 3.5 percent effective July 1, 2010.
The bill also would suspend a 3.5 percent increase scheduled for all 76 state legislators for January 1, 2010. Additionally, Governor Lingle is asking the Legislature to forego the 36 percent ($12,808) salary increases they are scheduled to receive on January 1, 2009. This would save an additional $486,704 in fiscal year 2009.
In 2006, the Legislature passed a bill to amend the State Constitution to establish a Commission on Salaries to review and recommend salaries for the justices of the Supreme Court, judges of all state courts, members of the State Legislature, directors and deputy directors of cabinet departments, the administrative director of the state (chief of staff) and the Governor and Lt. Governor. The constitutional amendment was approved by Hawai‘i voters in the November 2006 election.
The seven-member commission met in late 2006 and reported its salary recommendations to the Legislature in March 2007. Barring the Legislature’s disapproval of the recommendations as a whole, the salary recommendations would automatically be adopted as prescribed in the constitutional amendment.