A few weeks ago, the Governor of Hawai’i (the state I live in) ordered furloughs of most state employees of three days a month for two years, and ordered departments that were exempt from her being able to order furloughs (Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Education) to cut their budgets by an equivalent amount of money–roughly 14%.

Needless to say, there’s been much uproar about this. The unions representing government employees are challenging the orders in court, and departments are considering their options, many choosing to close three Fridays a month.

For those employees who are already struggling with the high cost of living in Hawai’i, I doubt many have 14% slack in their budgets–quite frankly, very few do, and if they do, they may have to cope by reducing the amounts they are saving. But more likely, these employees are barely making ends meet already.

Everyone here knows someone who will be affected by these furloughs; professionally, I have to deal with state employees on a very regular basis, and it’s clear that there will be even more slowdowns to some state systems that already take long amounts of time to get business done (Ever try applying for some kind of welfare benefit? It already takes up to 90 days to work up a Medicaid application here–will it take 14% more time?).

My heart goes out to those who are receiving such cuts. I’ve been thinking about it myself: could I cut 14% out of my monthly budget?

My guess is I could, but I would have to substantially reduce the amount I’m saving for retirement, which would be like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

How about you? Could you do the same? If you’re like me, I’m guessing you’ll have difficulty doing so–join me in sending hope and positive energy to those who are facing these difficult times.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply