Think About It: Revving Up Revenues - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

January 10, 2013

Think About It: Revving Up Revenues

When the state Council on Revenues revised its forecast on state tax collections last week, the primary word that followed the announcement seemed to be "caution". After a number of relatively weak years of tax revenues during the recent recession, and with great needs in a number of areas- from infrastructure to salaries to information technology and childhood education- the first indication is that caution will be taken by the powers-that-be to ensure that not too much is spent before it's in the actual coffers. 

While the Hawaii economy is starting to rebound in some areas beyond tourism- like housing and construction- we still live in a very fragile place economically and should not take the boon times lightly, for we know what happens when times get tough and items get cut or neglected all over the place. The currently planned budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1 of this year, is up 8% vs. this year and the plan for 2015 shows a requested 10% increase vs. 2013. It all looks good on paper, if the money is there and things keep moving forward and cuts are also made where appropriate and efficient. Of course, a major concern is what happens to Hawaii-directed money that has come to us annually from Washington, D.C., without Senator Inouye in charge any more.

Thus, cautious optimism is the working phrase that accompanies the revised look at Hawaii state tax revenues. We still need to find other economic engines to carry the weight here at some point beyond generic tourism, construction, housing, and military spending. In the meantime, let's hope the picture keeps getting brighter and that government wisely assesses its options and the many needs that require attention. Think about it…

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