Hawaiʻi Commission Endorses Pay Raises For Elected Officials

Mar 28, 2019

Credit Cory Lum/Civil Beat

  Hawaiʻi's state legislators should receive a series of annual pay raises beginning in 2021, according to recommendations by the state Commission on Salaries.

The House speaker and Senate president support the commission's proposal to boost legislators' pay by 10 percent in 2021, with additional increases through 2024, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

The raises would cost the state more than $485,000 in the next fiscal year and increase each year to 2024.

Under the plan, 74 members of the state House and Senate would receive increases from their current annual pay of $62,604 up to $74,160 in 2024, the newspaper reported.

The Senate president and House speaker would receive raises from $70,104 now to $83,052 in 2024, while the governor's salary would increase from the current $158,700 to $189,480 in 2024, according to the proposal.

The commission also recommended raises at the state Supreme Court, Intermediate Court of Appeals and circuit, family and district courts.

Under a 2006 law, raises automatically take effect unless rejected by lawmakers, according to the newspaper, which said no previous raises have been blocked.

The increases for House and Senate members are in line with raises won by public workers in recent years, according to Senate President Ron Kouchi, who said lawmakers receive constituent requests "all year round."

Sam Slom, who served 20 years in the state Senate, said current per diem travel payments and office allowances make increases unjustified.

"It's outrageous for a part-time legislature, for one thing, and the perks, the perks are tremendous," Slom said.