- - Sunday, September 14, 2008

Governor to seek employee-pay freeze

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle will ask government employees’ unions to agree not to seek pay raises as the state faces a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall over the next three years.

Otherwise, it could become more likely that government workers would have to be laid off to balance the budget, said Mrs. Lingle, a Republican.

Economists have forecast that the state will run a $162 million deficit this fiscal year — a figure that would rise to $903 million by the 2011 fiscal year if nothing is done.

Because the Hawaii Constitution forbids the state from running a deficit, Mrs. Lingle and the Democrat-controlledLegislature will have to cut budgets, programs or staff.

Negotiations between the state and the unions already have begun, and Mrs. Lingle said she’ll meet with the unions this week to ask them to maintain their current pay.

A spokeswoman for the Hawaii Government Employees Association said the union won’t comment until it hears from the governor directly.

Heavy rain brings flooding

DETROIT — Heavy rain that is expected to continue throughout the weekend has brought flooding to parts of Michigan.

The Cass County sheriff’s department in southwest Michigan said rain Friday and Saturday caused flooding that forced the closure of some roads. Some roads in the Detroit area also were flooded.

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids issued a flood warning for counties in the southwest and south-central part of the Lower Peninsula that was scheduled to last until Monday morning.

The weather service says up to 4 inches of rain had been reported in southern Kalamazoo County. An additional 1 to 3 inches are expected today.

Jailed lawmaker will resign

LACONIA, N.H. — Jailed lawmaker Jim Ryan says he will resign his seat in the state House of Representatives and not seek re-election in November.

The Franklin Democrat has been in the Carroll County jail since last month after being arrested for failing to pay court-ordered restitution stemming from a 1992 forgery conviction.

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