Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top Hawaii Headlines: Tuesday morning edition

Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday she would order state workers to take three days a month in furloughs for the next two years and would scale back state health-care benefits for low-income adults to close what she described as a $730 million budget deficit.

Public worker unions contend that Gov. Linda Lingle cannot furlough state workers without union agreement, indicating they are willing to try to block the governor's plan.

VIDEO: Gov. Lingle's Full Speech

State education officials balked at the level of cuts suggested yesterday by Gov. Linda Lingle if it means shrinking the school year for students.

Advocates for the poor and disadvantaged say they are troubled by Gov. Linda Lingle's plan to cut $42 million from a state program that provides health insurance for low-income adults, insisting that the move may ultimately hurt the pocketbooks of all Hawai'i residents.

While Maui County's leaders said they understood the need for Gov. Linda Lingle to take action because of falling state revenue projections, they questioned Monday her decision to order three-days-per-month furloughs for state workers and reductions of free health insurance benefits for low-income adults.

Three members of the state Environmental Council have quietly resigned in recent weeks, alleging the governor ignored their work.

Honolulu remains the nation's safest major city after FBI crime statistics released yesterday indicate a 15 percent decline in crime last year, according to the FBI's annual report "Crime in the United States."

Hana High and Elementary School's new bamboo pavilion will be blessed and featured on national television this week.

Certain Hawaii County employees have used taxpayer-financed computers to access on-line classifieds, shop for children's clothes and check sports scores, the county's investigation into possible Internet abuse has found.