Think About It: Tight Budget - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

March 17, 2014

Think About It: Tight Budget

Time heals all wounds; except when wounds re-open. The latest economic projection for state revenues foresees a shortfall of almost $500-million for the rest of this fiscal year plus next year. Just when the scab from our four-year  economic drought was finally clearing up, zero revenue growth is projected over the next few months, as the current state fiscal year ends in June. Projections have also been lowered for next year as state tax collections dwindle, in large part due to current lower visitor numbers and subsequent spending and expectations for sluggish growth through mid-year, 2015.

So while the surplus was great while it lasted, the question now becomes how much funding should be allocated to budget requests by the governor and various legislators, and how much should the legislature hold back the reins as the money situation tightens up. Again, so much is riding on these prognostications that the science aspect of the Council on Revenue's projections has to outweigh the political zeal of all of our politicians running for office.

Surely, we don't want to get into a new year only to find out about cuts being necessary in some areas because new programs or credits were put in place and the funds simply didn't materialize. But we also don't want to keep smart efforts from moving forward- like paying down debt and upgrading infrastructure. So we leave it up to our elected officials to make the right choices today based on estimates for the future, a tricky proposition at best. But that's their job, and they need to focus on what's best for Hawai'i, not what's most popular to help ensure that they will get re-elected. And that's really the tricky part. Think about it…

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