Lingle warns of pay cuts for state workers


POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009

Gov. Linda Lingle is telling state workers they will have reduced benefits and pay in order to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis.

In remarks prepared for her seventh state of the state address before a joint session of the state Legislature, Lingle described the budget problem as “a deep hole.”

“Climbing our way out of this hole won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. It won’t be without pain; but it will be done,” Lingle said.

Saying she would not “sugarcoat the immediate challenge,” Lingle said state leaders will have to make unpopular choices.

“A number of projects will likely be delayed, curtailed or possibly eliminated.

“We will have to ask government employees, like those who work in the private sector, to accept some reduction in wages and benefits.

“Some who enjoy special tax credits, exemptions and deductions will see them reduced or eliminated,” Lingle said.

The Republican further warned that it is likely that the Council on Revenues will reduce state tax projections in both March and then again in May.

“We are not alone in facing this new reality and near-term uncertainty…the difficulty we face is temporary.

“Our nation will regain its economic footing, and so will Hawaii,” Lingle said.
In her speech, Lingle did not give specifics about what state budget cuts will be needed.