Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lingle proposes salary freezes

HONOLULU -- Gov. Linda Lingle plans to cut $4.1 million from the state budget by freezing top officials’ salaries for the next two years.

The salary freeze would affect 208 employees, including the governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet heads and deputies and justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court and all state court judges.

The administration employees are scheduled for salary hikes of 5 percent on July 1, 2009 and 3.5 percent on July 1, 2010. The justices and judges are scheduled for salary increases of 10 percent in 2009 and 3.5 percent in 2010.

Lingle will propose a bill in the 2009 legislative session to accomplish the salary freezes. The bill covers the positions recommended for increases in 2007 by the Commission on Salaries. The increases will go into effect automatically unless the Legislature takes action.

The bill also would suspend a 3.5-percent increase scheduled for all 76 state legislators for January 1, 2010. Additionally, Lingle is asking the Legislature to forgo the 36 percent ($12,808) salary increases lawmakers are scheduled to receive on Jan. 1, 2009. This would save an additional $486,704 in fiscal year 2009.

“…It is important that state leaders also make sacrifices and lead by example,” Lingle said in a statement. “At a time when many Hawaii residents are losing their jobs or seeing their salaries frozen or reduced, it would be inappropriate for state leaders to accept pay raises.”