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Abercrombie: Spending increases for necessities

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:51 p.m. HST, Dec 20, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said today that the spending increases he's proposing for the next two fiscal years address fundamental necessities like early childhood education, state employee pensions and retiree health care.

The governor wants to spend nearly $3 million more on early childhood education in the next fiscal year starting in July and $28 million more the following year.

Children who don't receive education before kindergarten often enter school already behind other students, Abercrombie said.

"It's unfair to them and it's certainly an unfair burden to place on the teaching staff of our schools," he told reporters at a news conference.

Failing to invest in programs like preschool will lead to higher medical expenses, more mental health care and possibly higher unemployment and crime problems, he said.

"To the degree that which we don't provide for that in the early years, we're undermining ourselves socially and economically," the governor said.

Abercrombie was initially scheduled to discuss his budget proposals Monday, the day he submitted them, but he postponed a news conference on the topic when Sen. Daniel Inouye died.

The governor also wants to spend $100 million a year paying into funds for state employee pensions and retiree health care.

As is the case in many other states, a change to accounting rules in 2008 exposed an enormous shortfall in state payments to employee pension funds and health care funds.

Budget Director Kalbert Young said Hawaii owes $8 billion to the state's pension system and more than $14 billion to the health fund for employee and retiree health care.

The state would need to pay $500 million a year for 30 years to pay this off, Young said.

The governor is only proposing to spend 20 percent of that amount. But Abercrombie said it's a "giant step forward" toward addressing a liability that looms large for the state. It also compares favorably with what other states are doing, he said.

"It shows that we are serious about it and it shows how serious the challenge is," the governor said.

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Bdpapa wrote:
Its a good thing to put money into Early Childhood Education, but where is he going to cut funding? He wants both and he wants us to pay for it. Go back to the drawing board and erase something from that board.
on December 20,2012 | 05:28PM
soundofreason wrote:
"The governor also wants to spend $100 million a year paying into funds for state employee pensions and retiree health care.">>> So he wants to increase spending to make up for the theft spending of the funds. Yeah, no spending problem here.
on December 20,2012 | 05:44PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Yeah, Neil, we all want to pay government employees more. That's our number one priority, more money to government employees.
on December 20,2012 | 05:58PM
jomama wrote:
Guv wants to spend $400 million more but only $3 million for early childhood?
on December 20,2012 | 06:01PM
Anonymous wrote:

To be clear we NEED the basics like food, sex, water, shelter, and love.


on December 20,2012 | 06:42PM
HD36 wrote:
It takes 6 private workers to support 1 guberment worker.
on December 20,2012 | 08:38PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Government employees are the engine for the state's Democratic Party. So, of course they will be taken care of - it is how Hawaii rolls.
on December 20,2012 | 07:14PM
niimi wrote:
Until China calls in their chips. Then what?
on December 20,2012 | 09:42PM
kinkyhobo wrote:
I don't think China is a large holder of State issued bonds. Can't seem to think of too many reasons if China were sitting on a large dollar trade surplus, why would they decide to invest into State bonds instead of U.S. treasuries. Do you have data showing the amount of State of Hawaii Bonds that China holds? Please share data, I would be very interested in seeing.
on December 21,2012 | 12:36AM
64hoo wrote:
that spending for early childhood is a bunch of you know what. they have preschool to learn before kindergarden i don't want my tax dollors going to a bunch of brats that the parents can take care of.
on December 20,2012 | 09:09PM
64hoo wrote:
also case and point the state from teachers to state workers should pay for there own retirement and part of there medical plan instead of putting this burden on us taxpayers for 50 years or more you dumbocrats been screwing this island up with to much spending until were in a bad defecit problem. and its most of the people of hawaii who keep putting all these dumbocrats in the governer position to legislature positions. when you going to learn hawaii. act now and stop this spend spend spend spend money that we don't have. so wake up people of hawaii before we have our own fiscal cliff.
on December 20,2012 | 09:38PM
niimi wrote:
Preschool is very important. Children without preschool are so far behind those who traversed the preschool path.
on December 20,2012 | 09:43PM
64hoo wrote:
fine preschool is important but don't use my tax dollors to spend for the kidsfor there preschool, thats the parents problems not mine and if they cant afford it don' have kjds i don't want to burden myself by paying for these littl brats let there parents handle it
on December 20,2012 | 09:51PM
niimi wrote:
Spend & Spend & Spend some more. Well, voting majority voted for more deficit spending. This is how to create a fiscal cliff.
on December 20,2012 | 09:41PM
kinkyhobo wrote:
You do understand that the State of Hawaii can not do any deficit spending do you? In fact the State has a provision in the State Constitution that calls for all State budgets to be balanced. That is why if you remember former Governor Linda Lingle had resorted to layoffs, furloughs, spending cuts, when the State revenue starting falling short of projections.
on December 21,2012 | 12:33AM
64hoo wrote:
hope the world ends tomorrow then we wont have to worry about this spending problem. because we won't be around.
on December 20,2012 | 10:37PM
64hoo wrote:
come on SA my comment was little humorous dont need approval have a little fun dont be stick in the muds.
on December 20,2012 | 10:43PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
How about saving $2 million in special election costs by keeping Hanabusa in the congress.
on December 21,2012 | 12:12AM
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