Categorized | Government, News

Governor Lingle responds to Senator Inouye’s comments on state layoffs

MEDIA RELEASE

Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement today in response to Sen. Dan Inouye’s comments on possible reduction in force:

“Sen. Inouye’s comments are inappropriate, factually inaccurate and misleading. By attempting to insert himself into the labor negotiation process, Sen. Inouye is unnecessarily creating a distraction from the fact that without the implementation of labor savings, the State’s fiscal crisis will continue to deepen. This is not a political issue, as the Senator hopes to lead the public to believe, but rather a fiscal reality that we must address.

“The facts are: today my Administration notified the United Public Workers Union and Hawai‘i Government Employees Association of possible reductions in force of state employees. The notification is the first step, as required by law, in the reduction in force procedures.

“It is also important to note that the 5 percent reduction offered informally by the unions equals $203 million over the biennium. Although EUTF benefits are still being negotiated, if the percentage stays the same as today (60/40 split), the cost is $94.3 in the biennium. This amounts to only about $100 million in labor savings, which is not nearly enough to balance the budget as required by the Constitution, because our current shortfall is $786 million.

“I continue to believe that furloughs are preferable to layoffs and my Administration is continuing to negotiate with the public employee unions to achieve a resolution.”

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