Gov. David Ige said today that furloughs and layoffs of state workers are no longer necessary now that President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes $1.6 billion in assistance for the state of Hawaii.
Ige said the federal pandemic relief package “gives the state much needed breathing room,” in a press release. While the jobs of state workers are expected to be secure, it’s not clear if other cuts to the state’s operating budget will still be necessary.
”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,” said Ige.
Hawaii’s four counties are also set to receive the following sums to help plug budget deficits:
City and County of Honolulu- $365 million
County of Hawai‘i – $36 million
County of Kaua‘i – $13 million
County of Maui – $30 million
The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package provides sweeping assistance to state and county budgets ailing amid the economic downturn, as well as direct aid to low and middle-income households, and funds to assist with the pandemic healthcare response, education, housing and social services.
The relief package expands unemployment benefits through Sept. 6 and provides $300 a week in federal funds. The federal government will also cover 100% of COBRA health insurance premiums, helping laid-off employees retain their health insurance.