HONOLULU — Governor David Ige announced his proposal for a 20 percent pay cut for teachers and other public workers, to help offset what could possibly be a collapse in state tax collections amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“When I first heard about the pay cuts, um, from the governor’s proposal, I was initially upset. It affected me directly. I would, I’d be losing 20% of my income. But after thinking about it, um, this COVID-19 has affected a lot of people and a lot of people are unemployed, so they’re not getting paid at all. So at least I’m getting 80% of my income rather than nothing at all. And I’m trying to be positive about the situation,” said Germaine Ancheta, a teacher.
This proposal would impose the 20 percent cut on most public employees as early as May 1, along with a ten percent cut in pay for first responders.
“Nurses, healthcare workers, you know, frontline workers, people who you know, are working with, you know, people who have COVID and they’re putting their lives on the line. Um, you know, there’s no hazard pay that comes along with the job. So, you know, they’re, they’re they’re, they’re doing the work and they’re giving their all to, you know, make sure everybody’s safe. And, you know, I feel it’s unfair for, on the governor and his administration too, um, propose something like this,” said Chris Saturino, a healthcare worker.
Hawaii Government Employees Associations executive director Randy Perreira said in a statement issued yesterday that Ige’s proposed pay reductions would last for two years.
“Well I was considering buying a house this year, so that probably won’t happen if the, if that, um, goes through.”
Hawaii locals worry of what the financial consequences might be should the proposal be approved.
“10% of what I make, you know, that’s a lot of money. You know, I have bills myself, I have mortgage payments, you know, I still have student loans. So, you know, you know, it’s hard to, you know, still make ends meet. We live in Hawaii. Our, you know, the cost of living in Hawaii is really high.”
No final decision has been made yet on pay cuts or furloughs — but should it be imposed on public workers, Ige shared that he and his cabinet will take similar cuts in their own paychecks.