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Governor begins speech by remembering fallen HPD officers

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 03:38 p.m. HST, Jan 23, 2012

Prompted by the death this weekend of Honolulu Police Department officer Garret Davis, Gov. Neil Abercrombie began his State of the State address this morning by remembering Davis and Eric Fontes, both killed in accidents during traffic stops.

In prepared remarks, the governor struck an optimistic tone in his second state of the state address, proposing investments in construction, early childhood education, technology and renewable energy while avoiding any discussion of new taxes.

Abercrombie also thanked lawmakers for legislative moves last year that helped the state climb out of a budget deficit that grew to $1.2 billion.

The governor was delivering his State of the State address this morning to a joint session of the Legislature.

"Together we are moving forward," Abercrombie said in prepared remarks. "And moving forward means leaving behind the drama of the recent past."

The governor's supplemental budget request for this year, presented to lawmakers in December, seeks $188 million in new state spending for fiscal year 2013, a 1.7 percent increase.

Abercrombie said he is asking the Legislature for $1.8 million in emergency funds for a grant to the National Kidney Foundation to support services for patients affected by the recent closure of two Hawaii Medical Center hospitals. 

Some of Abercrombie's specific budget proposals outlined today included:

>> $10 million to consolidate the state's technology resources under the Office of Information Management and Technology. 

>> $2.9 million to enhance online services and to initiate a "one-to-one" laptop program to provide a laptop computer for all public school students.

>> $5 million to protect state watersheds.

>> $1.4 million to begin establishing "one stop shops" to provide information to elderly residents who need help facing the challenges of aging and restricted mobility.

>> $1 million for early childhood education and health initiatives, including the formation of a task force to study the health risks posed by sugar-sweetened beverages, and then propose a solution. Abercrombie last year proposed a tax on soda and other soft drinks as an effort to stem such risks.

Abercrombie thanked labor unions for sharing in the sacrifice of the recent past year through pay cuts and furloughs, while stressing that the state still awaits a new contract with the state's public school teachers. The Hawaii State Teachers Association last week rejected the most recent contract proposal.

He outlined his administration's effort to combat homelessness and the state's prison population. 

Abercrombie also highlighted the proposed $200 million settlement with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs over former crown lands. The settlement involves the transfer of state lands along the waterfront at Kakaako that Hawaiians may redevelop.

"It brings closure to this longstanding rift allowing both the native Hawaiian community and the state to move forward," Abercrombie said.

The governor also said he was appointing Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to oversee and prioritize alternative energy programs.

He highlighted two agreements signed during the November Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit - an agreement signed with China aimed at advancing business opportunities in renewable energy, and a second agreement with a Japan-based organization to build a first-of-its-kind smart grid demonstration project on Maui.

2012 State of the State Speech

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DiverDave wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 23,2012 | 11:08AM
what wrote:
Yep, Abercrombie thinks every student needs a computer, and he thinks you should pay for it. And don't worry about the underfunded pensions, you're going to pay for that too! Tax and spend, tax and spend!
on January 23,2012 | 12:28PM
wiliki wrote:
Computers are now down to about $200 wholesale-- even retail if you count the Kindle Fire. About the price of 2 retail price textbooks.
on January 23,2012 | 03:11PM
AtomicMonkey wrote:
on January 23,2012 | 01:58PM
Glassy_eye wrote:
Remember when we were told that once the Governor was able to appoint his own Board of Education, the stars would be aligned and that the dream of public education reform would finally be possible? Now we see that the best reform idea he can come up with is to buy every kid a laptop. This would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.
on January 23,2012 | 02:42PM
wiliki wrote:
Hardly, India is doing that. There it costs $35 a computer. So prices are really coming down.
on January 23,2012 | 03:12PM
Kuniarr wrote:
A computer for $35? In your dreams.
on January 23,2012 | 05:07PM
wiliki wrote:
You have to go to India to buy them....
on January 23,2012 | 07:00PM
wiliki wrote:
A good speech.... looks like a better year for the state.
on January 23,2012 | 03:08PM
wiliki wrote:
Great speech. Abercrombie will have a legacy that's hard to beat.
on January 23,2012 | 03:13PM
Changalang wrote:
Gov. Abs did very well and spoke from the heart. I hope many more cut him a little slack. LG is a visionary on energy. Green energy is working in Hawaii, because it is a perfect fit. Thanks Brian!
on January 23,2012 | 03:24PM
Kuniarr wrote:
It is ludicrous to even think that it is the task of the State to provide jobs. That task is the sole and only the sole responsibility of the private sector. Governor Abercrombie seems blind to the fact that monies he doles out are not "free" money but cash forcibly taken from Hawaii taxpayers thru taxes and fees. Then there this is this ridiculous thinking that spending on construction projects is an "investment" because the only way spending can classify as an "investment" is if there is a return of what was spent plus interest.
on January 23,2012 | 04:59PM
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