POSTED: 6:31 p.m. HST, Mar 23, 2012
Hawaii ranks fifth in per capita federal spending, which makes the state particularly vulnerable to attempts to deal with the nation's deficit.
As a result, the state should be proactive and prepare for possible reductions in federal funding, said Michael Bird, senior affairs counsel for the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Bird came to Honolulu to talk to policymakers about possible impacts on Hawaii's budget under the federal Budget Control Act of 2011, and Friday conducted an informational briefing for legislators. Since solutions to the national debt crisis are still fluid, he didn't offer firm projections on cuts.
However, he did tell House and Senate money committee members that under the current proposal for across-the-board cuts, or sequestration, Hawaii could lose about $45 million in funding.