Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, February 3, 2017
Hawaii public employee benefits rise 5 times faster than private sector
By Grassroot Institute @ 5:22 PM :: 6009 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Labor

Hawaii public employee benefits rise 5 times faster than in private sector 

Salaries and benefits of Hawaii government workers have increased by 26 percent in the past decade

News Release from Grassroot Institute

HONOLULU, HAWAII--February 3, 2017--Benefits for public employees in Hawaii have risen five times faster than those for private sector workers, adjusted for inflation, according to the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show that Hawaii public employee benefits have increased by 26 percent in the past decade, compared to 5 percent in the private sector.

Many of the increases in compensation for state and county employees are from generous benefits packages, which include comprehensive health care insurance, life insurance, retirement programs, sick leave, vacation leave and holidays. These benefits have been increasing significantly for government employees while average private sector benefits have flat-lined in Hawaii.

Although public sector workers make contributions to their own benefit packages, Hawaii taxpayers fund the majority of benefits for government workers. On average, government workers each contribute $4,358 towards their own retirements annually, while taxpayers foot the remaining $13,966.

In addition, taxpayers make hefty contributions for other post employment benefits for public workers, averaging $10,864 for every beneficiary per year.

Taxpayers also fund 60 percent of health benefits and 100 percent of life insurance benefits for the majority of public union members.

Career state workers in Hawaii — those who work for the state for 30 years or more — average $683,262 in benefits over the course of their retirements. [i] That’s on top of Social Security benefits that nearly all state workers receive. Generous retirement rules, longer life expectancies and substantial cost-of-living increases have boosted benefits.

Keli’i Akina, President and CEO of the Grassroot Institute, said, “Hawaii’s citizens with private sector jobs are struggling to save for their own retirement, let alone the retirement of public sector employees. Regular non-government workers should not be taxed extra to pay for unaffordable increases in benefits for public workers. The state should work to bring its employees’ total compensation more in line with what the private sector can afford.”

[i] Biggs, Andrew G. “Not So Modest: Pension Benefits for Full-Career State Government Employees” American Enterprise Institute March 2014 <>.


About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region. Read more about us at

Like us on Facebook:

Donate to help us grow:

Tweet us at

About Grassroot President:

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii. Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government. An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii