The new agreement with the HGEA will increase state labor costs by at least $65 million a year, the House Republican Caucus announced. And the agreement gives state workers up to 9 additional paid days off of work per year.  This comes on top of 21 days paid vacation and 21 days of sick leave per year.

“This is a deceptive sleight of hand to claim this deal saves money,” Rep. Cynthia Thielen of Kailua pointed out.  “Taxpayers are being misled when in fact they will be paying for government workers to stay home.”

Labor costs make up almost 70% of our State budget.  State employees, under the two day a month furlough plan, had their pay reduced almost 10%.  Cutting only 5% of their pay in FY 2012 and FY 2013 will actually increase the cost of the State workforce. Further the Governor is telling these employees they can take 6 hours off each month when they should be providing public services.

“Governor Abercrombie’s math is pretty fuzzy when a net loss to state revenues is called a savings,” noted House Republican Leader Gene Ward.

“We respect the collective bargaining process.  But it is important that agreements are fair both to the workers and the taxpayers of our State,” Maui Rep. George Fontaine, a member of the House Labor Committee, stated. “State workers already have generous vacation and sick leave arrangements.”

Rep. Gil Riviere, a member of the House Finance Committee, pointed out, “reducing base pay by 5% is a step in the right direction, but is not enough to balance the State budget.”

“Even the counties are recognizing this agreement needs further examination,” stated Rep. Barbara Marumoto who serves as Republican Policy Leader.  “Until we get costs under control, public services will suffer.”

Last week the House Republican Caucus issued a balanced budget to close a $1.3 billion gap in the State’s budget. A copy of this budget is available to the public at www.hawaiistatebudgetonline.com.

The House Republican Caucus is Minority Leader Gene Ward, Minority Floor Leader Kymberly Marcos Pine, Minority Policy Leader Barbara C. Marumoto, Assistant Minority Leader Cynthia Thielen, Assistant Floor Leader Corinne W.L. Ching and Minority Whips, Representatives George Fontaine, Aaron Ling Johanson, and Gil Riviere.

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