Hawai´i Cancels State Furloughs
Hawai´i has cancelled scheduled furloughs of all state employees.
Gov. David Ige announced early Thursday afternoon that furloughs and layoffs are no longer necessary after President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package, officially dubbed the American Rescue Plan.
The sweeping pandemic relief package aims to defeat the COVID-19 virus and breathe life into the economy. The legislation means that the State of Hawai‘i and four counties will receive about $2.2 billion in assistance to bolster state and county budgets that have sustained significant tax revenue losses because of the pandemic.
The funding breakdown is as follows:
- $1.6 billion for the State of Hawai‘i
- $365 million for the City and County of Honolulu
- $36 million for the County of Hawai‘i
- $13 million for the County of Kaua‘i
- $30 million for the County of Maui
The state will also receive an additional $116 million for critical capital projects for pandemic response in education and healthcare.
“This new infusion of federal funding gives the state much needed breathing room so that layoffs and furloughs are no longer necessary in the foreseeable future,” Ige said. “We must still assess all impacts of the COVID-19 relief bill before we have a clearer picture of its effect on the state budget.”
The relief package expands unemployment benefits through Sept. 6 with $300 a week from the federal government. The bill also provides a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums so that laid-off employees can remain on their healthcare plans through September.
In addition, the package will provide $1,400 for qualified single taxpayers, $2,800 for qualified married couples that file jointly, and $1,400 for each dependent.
The relief package will also provide significant federal funding for:
· Education, both the Dept. of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi
· The Dept. of Health for the COVID-19 response, such as vaccinations, public health programs, and mental health and substance abuse programs
· SNAP, childcare and Medicaid programs
· Rental and mortgage assistance
H.R. 1319 – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 can be found online.