Gov. Linda Lingle said more state employee layoffs are likely after Hawaii’s official revenue forecaster lowered its projections again.

“The reality is, over the next few years, the state will have substantially less money to spend,” Lingle said in a statement late last week after the revised forecast was announced.

Last week’s report from the Council on Revenues, the official source for state budgetary decisions, lowered the revenue outlook for the current fiscal year by 1.5%, while raising it slightly for fiscal 2011, for a net $98 million shortfall for the biennium.

In a statement late last week, Lingle said the additional reductions are likely to be substantial and focus on a major restructuring of departments and state government, including the possible elimination of some programs and services.

The Republican governor has been embroiled in so-far-unsuccessful negotiations with public employee unions as she seeks to implement unpaid furlough days for employees, saying they are a better alternative to layoffs. The unions haven’t been accommodating, and they won a state court ruling that said the governor couldn’t impose furloughs without collective bargaining.

“I continue to believe that furloughs would be preferable for both the state employees and the public,” Lingle said.

But there is no way the state’s shrinking revenue base will not be felt by residents, she added.

“The public also needs to re-evaluate its expectations of what services government can provide, given the realities of our current budget situation,” she said.

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