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Will Governor Ige Ignore the Law?

July 24, 2016

On Wednesday, July 20, the bill to help Maui region hospital workers who are being terminated from state service passed when the legislature overrode Gov. David Ige's veto. It is now up to him to implement the law.
We can only surmise from his public statements since then that he has no intention of fulfilling the will of the people. Instead it appears that he is continuing his stance of trying to block it by any excuse possible, instead of looking for solutions.
Gov. Ige claims his priority is the health and well-being of Maui's residents and visitors and that he's committed to the successful transfer and transition of the operations, including employees. Clearly at every step of this process he has shown that he does NOT care for the employees.
Gov. Ige has demonstrated that all he cares about is the unfunded liability, that's why it is baffling that he wanted the privatization in the first place since it will make the greatest impact - $213 million.
Gov. Ige and his team continue to tell half-truths about the cost and impact of SB 2077, saying the bill to help workers will cost too much.
What he never says is:

  • The biggest impact to the Employees' Retirement System's unfunded liability comes from terminating the hospital employees - not the severance or early retirement
  • Employees' Retirement System officials publicly stated in a May 16, 2016, Star-Advertiser article that the greatest impact to the unfunded liability for the public-pension system comes from taking more than 1,400 employee-contributors out
  • According to experts quoted in the Star-Advertiser article, the privatization will add $213 million to the public-pension fund's unfunded liability because 630 employees are already vested in the system, however due to the privatization, they will no longer contribute

Throughout this process Gov. Ige continually refused to consider:

  • Early retirement options for public employees close to retirement
  • A fair severance for employees being affected by the largest termination of public employees in the state's history

Yes, there is a cost for severance and for early retirement, however it is nowhere near the cost of the privatization itself.

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