Showing posts with label shortfall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shortfall. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Ige says 'drastic actions' such as pay cuts needed to plug $1.5B budget hole, state plans for reopening, high school graduation ceremonies canceled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Gov. David Ige PC: Media pool photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser
With tourism at a standstill, governor says he’s preparing for $1.5B in cuts to state’s budget. The governor says the shutdown of tourism is Hawaii will have a significant impact on the state’s budget — and could lead to up to $1.5 billion in cuts. The entire operating budget for the state is about $8 billion. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmakers looking at department cuts and ways to restore local economy. Only the governor has the power to cut state worker pay and institute furloughs, but Senator Donovan Dela Cruz tells KHON the legislature is also trying to see what they can do to balance state general funding. KHON2.

Public employee pay cuts mulled. Pay cuts for state employees are on the table, but increases in state general excise or personal income taxes are not at this time, Gov. David Ige said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

Rep. Case disputes Ige’s claims on federal funds to help proposed pay-cuts. Hawaii’s US Representative Ed Case is at odds with Governor David Ige’s message Wednesday about federal funding being used to help with the state’s billion-dollar budget shortfall. KHON2.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s plan for public worker pay cuts gets pushback. Gov. David Ige’s plan to impose 20% pay cuts for teachers and many other public workers quickly encountered resistance Wednesday from both the public worker unions and some leading state lawmakers. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers, Union Officials Are Pushing Back Against State Pay Cuts. Other options like eliminating vacant positions or tapping the rainy day fund should be considered first. Civil Beat.

Unions plead with governor to reconsider proposed pay cuts of up to 20% for state workers. Union leaders and state lawmakers urged the governor Wednesday to reconsider proposed pay cuts of up to 20% for state employees, saying that slashing salaries so drastically at a time when many families are already struggling with layoffs or reductions in hours would do widespread harm. Hawaii News Now.

Governor Ige considering a pay cut for teachers and most state employees. Facing a 20% cut in pay, experienced teachers are worried about their financial future heading to retirement. KITV4.

State Workers Would Face Pay Cuts up to 20% Under Ige’s Plan to Offset Budget Hit of Coronavirus. Hawai‘i state employees may be looking at pay cuts across the board, as tax revenues shrink amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Big Island Now.

Gov. Ige proposes pay cuts. Governor David Ige is considering a 20% pay cut for state workers due to a drop in tax revenue triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, but hasn’t made any decisions on the proposal. Garden Island.


More than 2,600 visitors have come to Hawaii since quarantine began. More than 500 trans-Pacific passengers came to Hawaii on Tuesday — including some visitors. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii officials intestigating a half-dozen coronavirus clusters. Hawaii health officials are investigating half a dozen COVID-19 clusters throughout the islands as the number of cases continues to creep up. Star-Advertiser.

More Than Half Of Hawaii’s 530 COVID-19 Cases Have Recovered. On Wednesday, 13 more cases of coronavirus were confirmed, taking Hawaii’s COVID-19 infections to a total of 530. Civil Beat.

Hawaii COVID-19 Updates For Wednesday, April 15. As of noon on Wednesday, there have been 530 cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawaiʻi, an increase of 13 from the day before. Big Island Video News.


HEMA chief says time to plan for reopening state’s economy is now. Gov. David Ige’s point man on economic and nonmedical logistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic told lawmakers Wednesday now is the time to plan for reopening the state for business. Tribune-Herald.

Loosening stay-at-home orders could come as early as May if people follow the rules now. After four consecutive days of fewer positive cases, officials are discussing how they will begin our recovery, and gradually start loosening some of the stay-at-home mandates. KHON2.

New rapid antibody tests ‘could be the key to re-opening Hawaii’. As doctors and scientists continue to wage war against this invisible enemy, the rapid antibody test has emerged as the latest tool in their arsenal. KHON2.


More money to flow to Hawaii’s unemployed. After being overwhelmed by more than 200,000 Hawaii unemployment claims since March, state officials have begun to ramp up payments. Star-Advertiser.

General frowns on using Guard to process Hawaii jobless claims. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara said that he is against using Hawaii National Guard personnel to help process the overflow in unemployment claims caused by the closure of businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Star-Advertiser.


Traditional High School Graduations in Hawaii Canceled This Year. Those will be replaced by alternative ceremonies to be determined by each school, according to the Hawaii Department of Education. Civil Beat.

Given the circumstances, pomp taken from Hawaii graduations. Add another victim to the coronavirus pandemic in Hawaii: traditional public high school graduation ceremonies. Star-Advertiser.

DOE cancels traditional high school graduation ceremonies statewide. The state Department of Education announced Wednesday that “alternative celebrations” will take the place of traditional commencement ceremonies this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

Traditional public school commencement ceremonies canceled this year. “Alternative celebrations” will be held in place of traditional commencement ceremonies at public and public charter schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, education officials announced Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.


Hotel for Heroes tweaks program as demand grows. Demand for the Hotel for Heroes program, which houses working health care employees and first responders in free hotel rooms, was so great in its first week that it outstripped supply. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii small businesses start getting federal emergency funding. An auto repair shop in Waipio is one of the small businesses in Hawaii benefiting from the federal CARES Act, meant to help the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

$1M raised for new fund aimed at helping struggling UH students. The University of Hawaii has raised $1 million to help struggling students pay for tuition. The funds will help many continue their education during the pandemic. The university says donors from across the state came together to help students on all 10 campuses. Hawaii News Now.

UH Medical School Seeks Funding To Develop New COVID-19 Blood Tests. A test to confirm workers’ immunity to COVID-19 could put them safely back to work and help Hawaii’s economic recovery, says a medical school professor. Civil Beat.

Zoom Replaces Hugs For Hawaii Parents With Children In Foster Care. Hawaii, like many states, has called off in-person visits because of the coronavirus pandemic, though some think the ban goes too far. Civil Beat.


Honolulu rail agency now expects $80M for project. Rail officials now project that the $9.2 billion, 20-mile project will suffer an $80 million loss in state tax revenue as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Star-Advertiser.

Wahiawa Health confirms third case of COVID-19. The employees who tested positive are currently in quarantine. KITV4.

Coronavirus Site For Oahu’s Homeless Will Not Offer Testing. There is no widespread COVID-19 screening or testing of homeless people in Hawaii after a facility set up to help has backed off from part of its original mission. Civil Beat.

With fewer cars on the roads, HPD sees uptick in speeding, jaywalking citations. Honolulu police have noticed an increase in speeding and jaywalking in recent weeks as fewer vehicles take to the roads following the stay-at-home order. Hawaii News Now.


Dillingham Airfield tenants get a reprieve as Hawaii delays shutdown. The state is pushing back by a year its plan to terminate its lease at Dillingham Airfield — giving airport tenants “a little reprieve” in the view of one business owner there. Star-Advertiser.

State DOT postpones action at Dillingham Airfield. The DOT says it notified tenants that it has rescinded the termination of their permit at the facility. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Civilian police employee in Hilo tests positive for COVID-19. A civilian who works in the Hawaii Police Department Records Division tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Chief Paul Ferreira confirmed Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

No new COVID-19 cases reported on Big Island. No new COVID-19 cases were reported in Hawaii County on Wednesday as the number of cases associated with two Kona McDonald’s restaurants held steady at a dozen, state health officials reported. West Hawaii Today.


Kaiser Coronavirus Experts Fly In For Damage Control At Maui Hospital. The Kaiser team from the mainland is expected to significantly bolster the hospital’s efforts to control the spread of the virus. Civil Beat.

Hale Makua Health Services Impacted by COVID-19 Positive Cases. Hale Makua Health Services received word from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health that one Home Health patient has tested COVID-19 positive, and that one nursing home resident at the Kahului facility tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Maui Now.

Two with Hale Makua have COVID-19; one possibly exposed at MMMC. A Hale Makua nursing home resident who was potentially exposed to a cluster of coronavirus cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center tested positive for COVID-19, along with a separate Hale Makua home health patient, according to state health officials. Maui News.

Kula Hospital worker tests positive for virus. Extra precautions taken at long-term care facility. Maui News.

Hotels for Heroes Provides 192 First Responders and Health Care Workers on Maui. The statewide Hotels for Heroes program is providing complimentary rooms for health care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis. Maui Now.


No new cases on Kaua‘i. County of Kaua‘i announced a full transition to conducting board and commission meetings remotely on Wednesday and will continue to accept written testimony from the public, as is part of the public process. Garden Island.

Planning the replanting. Kaua‘i County is in the process of planning what kind of native plants they’ll be putting along the Ke Ala Hele Makalae coastal path between Kealia Beach and Kuna Beach, now that ironwood trees illegally felled in the area have been cleared. Garden Island.

Friday, January 9, 2009

State budget down $125 million

The Hawaii Council on Revenues today confirmed some lawmakers’ worst fears – there’s about $125 million less to spend than they thought for the budget year that's already halfway over.

The $125 million must be cut from the FY 2009 budget that ends June 30. Forecasters hope the economy will turn around in time for a 1-percent increase in the FY 2010 budget, but they aren't making any promises.

The projected 3-percent decrease in state revenues for the current FY09 budget is a drastic drop from the 0.5-percent decrease forecast just a few months ago. A percentage point equals about $35 million in revenues.

The cuts are going to be painful, hitting those who need help most. Education and entitlement programs such as those administered by the Department of Health and Department of Human Services account for a whopping 78.4 percent of the state operating budget.

Council on Revenues Chairman Paul Brewbaker will brief legislative money committees on the details of the budget downturn at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Capitol auditorium. The Council reports its latest revenue forecast to the governor and the Legislature on June 1, Sept. 10, Jan. 10, and March 15 of each year.

Governor Linda Lingle wasn't surprised by the news.

"The Council on Revenues’ decision to lower projections is not unexpected given national and global economic conditions, as well as other external factors beyond our control that are impacting Hawaii," Lingle said in a statement. "The lower revenue projections reflect the challenges we will face as a state in the next couple of years, and underscore the need for all of us to work together. "

Hawaii is certainly not alone, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which says only 12 states aren’t expecting budget shortfalls.

“These budget gaps are approaching those seen in the last recession, which were the worst since World War II, and show every sign of growing larger,” NCSL Executive Director William T. Pound said in a statement. "While the data we collected from state legislative fiscal officers are pretty sobering, our discussions with legislative leaders tell us that they expect the problem to only get worse.”

(This article was edited 1/13/09 for clarification following new information).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Grim budget news, times 10

Gov. Linda Lingle has proposed a budget that assumes the economy will dip only half a percentage point during the fiscal year that ends June 30. But lawmakers said Monday they’re expecting revenue losses to be 10 times that.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees held a combined informational session where the Republican governor’s budget director, Georgina Kawamura, briefed them on the Administration’s 2009-2011 spending plan. Briefings on specific departments continue through the week.

But the Council on Revenues, when it meets Friday, could render the current spending plans obsolete. Tax collections have been down 2.6 percent during the first five months of the fiscal year, and the year could end up down 5 percent over the previous year.

That would be $225 million less on a roughly $11 billion budget, compared with the $22.5 million the governor was working with.

If so, an administration spending plan that already cuts 14 percent of discretionary spending could be forced to slice deeper – much deeper.

Democratic majority lawmakers, as expected, had plenty of questions.

But several of them focused on Lingle’s restructuring of the state’s bonds to push about $300 million in annual debt payments eight years into the future, when she will no longer be in office.

“To me, it’s somewhat misleading,” said Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, D-Kauii, Niihau. “We’re just extending our debt.”

“We’re deferring it; we’re not saving it,” said Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Donna Mercado Kim. “We’re leaving it to the future to pay it … So it’s not a true savings.”

The Administration will do whatever is necessary to balance the budget, said Kawamura. It’s an ongoing process, she said.

“We cannot do it by cuts alone,” Kawamura said. “It is agony for us in regards to what we have to do every day to get a balanced fiscal plan.”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lingle presents slimmed-down budget

HONOLULU – Salaries will be frozen and Healthy Start prenatal health care and adult dental care programs abolished, but no state employee would be laid off under a reduced spending plan unveiled today by Gov. Linda Lingle.

The $11.1 billion FY 10 and $11.3 billion FY 11 operating budgets are a 3.8-percent and 3.3-percent reduction, respectively, over the base budget. But Lingle said the numbers represent a 14-percent reduction in discretionary funding over the two-year period.

Lingle also plans to tap into special funds – taking $36 million from the Deposit Beverage Container Special Fund, $9 million from the Wireless Enhanced 911 Special Fund and $40 million from the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund – in order to balance the budget. The Legislature must agree to emergency appropriation bills in order for her to tap into those sources.

Lingle said she’d met with legislative leaders earlier in the day to present her budget proposal. The Legislature will use the budget as a base for its own deliberations, but doesn’t have to give the governor everything she wants.

“The world has changed and our fiscal situation has changed dramatically. That means it simply cannot be business as usual,” Lingle said during a news conference to announce her proposed budget.

“I believe that we will emerge stronger than we are now,” Lingle added, saying that the grim fiscal picture offers “great incentive to work together” with the Legislature in a collaborative fashion.

Lingle’s proposed cuts are in addition to cuts of $40 million proposed by the Department of Education and $13 million by the University of Hawaii System. Those two departments, combined with Department of Health and Department of Human Services, account for a whopping 78.4 percent of the state operating budget.

In addition to cutting spending and tapping into special funds, Lingle said the state would increase revenues by refinancing debt and collecting more taxes. While there would be no tax increase, Lingle said the state could collect an additional $122 million by stricter enforcement of taxes on cash transactions and tightening Act 221 investment tax credits.

A fast-tracked $3 billion public works program will also stimulate the economy and contribute to a healthy budget, Lingle said.

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.”