Senators approve 5% cut in salaries of top officials


POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With some grumbling that legislators should take bigger cuts, the state Senate approved a 5 percent pay cut yesterday for top elected and appointed state officials.

The bill now goes to a conference committee and a final vote in both chambers.

The move is estimated to save about $4 million, according to senators.

House Bill 1536 reduces the salaries of the governor, lieutenant governor, justices and judges of all state courts, the governor's chief of staff, departmental directors and deputy directors, and members of the Legislature.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Donna Mercado Kim (D, Kalihi Valley-Halawa) called the measure “;one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't”; bills because she had been getting opposition from lawmakers that it was too much of a pay cut and calls from the public saying cuts should go further.

Sen. Bob Bunda (D, Kaena-Waiawa-Pupukea) said the pay cuts should have been deeper, and Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo) was the lone “;no”; vote, saying that the bill should include all state workers and not just executives, judges and legislators.