Hawaii State Salaries 2012: Fewer Employees, Higher Costs

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Editor's note: This is the first in an ongoing series on Hawaii government salaries.

Despite growing its operating budget this year, Hawaii state government has yet to restore its work force to pre-recession levels, according to an analysis by Civil Beat.

Lawmakers agreed on an $11 billion operating budget for the year that started July 1 — an 8 percent increase over the previous year's budget.

But last year's smaller budget included salaries, health and pension benefits for a total of 45,241 full-time employees. This year's larger budget covers almost 500 fewer full-time workers, or 44,747 total. The current employee count is down by more than 1,750 compared with the fiscal 2009 budget year, which started July 1, 2008, before the global financial crisis took its toll.

While there are fewer employees in state government, the state is spending more taxpayer money on salaries and retirement benefits this year as a result of ending twice-monthly furloughs on July 1.

Fiscal Year FT Employees Total Budget (General Funds)
2008 45,908 $10.37 billion ($5.18 billion)
2009 46,535 $10.78 billion ($5.32 billion)
2010 46,048 $10.8 billion ($5.14 billion)
2011 45,241 $10.5 billion ($5.26 billion)
2012 44,747 $11 billion ($5.44 billion)

About 20 percent of the overall budget increase is tied to the cost of putting people back to work on furlough days. (Other causes of the increase include higher costs for social services like Medicaid and debt service.)

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