Think About It: Money In, Money Out - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 29, 2015

Think About It: Money In, Money Out

The legislature will be asked for $70-million additional from the Department of Education in the new budget year, above the $1.4-billion it was granted. And yes, some of that newly requested funding is supposed to go toward hot air abatement- I mean at the schools, not at the legislature. The University of Hawaii is asking for $16-million more than the originally approved $104-million budget for 2017 fiscal year. The funds requested include earmarking a much needed and warranted $3-million toward the UH athletics department. And we all know about continued funding (through taxes) for the rail project.

At the end of the day, the money can only be allocated if it exists, or if bonds are floated, or some other fiscal creativity is used. After all, no legislator wants to go on record as suggesting the only way to make these items fly is through increased taxes. Lowering the temperature in classrooms, funding UH athletes, ensuring quality hires at the UH Cancer Center, adding classrooms- good arguments can be made that all of these are basic and vital requests, not luxury items. These are needs, not wants.

So the money therefore has to be found, doesn't it? And that's what makes it so tough. Surely taxes from tourism revenues have helped fill the coffers, but that also reminds you just how fragile things are where one horrific storm here or international incidents or natural disasters beyond our control, as we've seen, could have lingering effects on our economy and thus our ability to fund basic needs, let alone additional requests. We need new revenue sources to complement tourism, that's not a new one, but it is reinforced with every additional money request. Think about it…

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