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Abercrombie wants $25 million fund to deal with federal cuts

By Star-Advertiser & Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:52 p.m. HST, Mar 01, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said today he will put together at a task force to weigh the affects of federal budget cuts on Hawaii, and he wants the Legislature to approve a $25 million contingency fund to help lessen the blow from sequestration.

The Sequestration Impact Response Team will include both public and private interests.

The Abercrombie administration had already asked state lawmakers to set aside $25 million over the next two years to respond to potential federal spending cuts. Sequestration refers to the automatic restriction of federal spending that kicks in today after President Barack Obama and Congress failed to come to terms on how to deal with the federal deficit.

State departments should learn from the federal government over the next week the specific impacts of sequestration, according to Kalbert Young, the state's budget director.

Young said he hopes the state Council on Revenues will address sequestration when the council updates its revenue forecast on March 13.

The forecast will be used by the Legislature when drafting the state's two-year budget. The forecast had been expected to go up because tax revenues are coming in higher than anticipated. 

Young said initial estimates show state programs will lose $25 million to $35 million in funds for the next two years.

He says federal agencies have not yet contacted their state counterparts to say how much and where their departments can expect to lose funding.

Abercrombie says it’s unlikely most people will feel the effects of the automatic cuts immediately. He says the cuts will have a ripple effect, touching more people as cuts progress.

If the cuts remain in place, he said, 19,000 Department of Defense workers will face some furloughs between April and September. 

Abercrombie said he is optimistic Congress will turn about to find an agreement to stop full effects of the cuts from taking place.

White House estimates show Hawaii could lose millions in funding for the military, education and environmental protection this year. 

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said dozens of workers at Schofield Barracks on Oahu have already been furloughed and 70 have lost their jobs as a result of the impending cuts. If nearly 20,000 Hawaii residents are furloughed, it would reduce pay by more than $130 million in a state that relies heavily on federal funding, according to the White House estimates.

Operations at Army bases in Hawaii would lose more than $100 million and Air Force operations would lose $15 million. 

Hawaii could also lose about $4.7 million for schools, forcing the state to help 9,000 fewer students and lay off dozens of teachers. About $1.3 million for clean water and air quality is also scheduled to disappear. 

Hawaii is also expected to lose significant funding for unemployment, law enforcement, public health and social programs. That could mean fewer vaccines for children, fewer services for victims of domestic violence and fewer meals for seniors. 

The $85 billion federal spending cut is the result of a budget deal reached in 2011. President Barack Obama and Republicans agreed on the extreme cuts as a deadline to force them to come up with a budget compromise.  

But the president and Republicans have each refused to budge on whether to raise taxes.

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Maneki_Neko wrote:
Should have put the team in place a week or more ago.
on March 1,2013 | 01:54PM
what wrote:
Did Abercrombie already clean out the Rainy Day fund? The Hurricane fund? The Pot Hole Road Repair fund? The HI-5 beverage contrainer fund? No more funds to raid? Now he is begging for more? Did he repay the pension fund defcit yet?
on March 1,2013 | 02:01PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
well put.
on March 1,2013 | 02:02PM
what wrote:
Maybe can cut back a welfare handouts a bit. I'm sure the EBT crowd can sparea half pound of premium Ahi poke, a couple of Filet Mignons, and a few lobster tails, a carton of cigareetes, a few cases of beer to balance the State budget.
on March 1,2013 | 02:06PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It's simpler than that. Just ask the employees to work a little harder and deliver the services for the taxpayer more efficiently.
on March 1,2013 | 03:09PM
HHC34 wrote:
I hear ya bro! The state should audit who they give out to the people who use EBT cards. I was at 7-Eleven, and I see a bruddah using the EBT card, yet drive away in his series 750 BMW............WTH?????
on March 1,2013 | 05:13PM
kaleki wrote:
Sick of this crap!!!! Term limits are needed for Congress.
on March 1,2013 | 01:55PM
MakaniKai wrote:
I agree kaleki - They (and that includes both parties) have created this fiscal nightmare - and Neil stop your whining brah you are part of the problem and not the solution - My God STOP stealing from my paycheck!!!!!!!!!!! Aloha.
on March 1,2013 | 02:36PM
808kela wrote:
on March 1,2013 | 02:50PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
So, looking at it from afar-- instead of actually reducing overall govt (fed and state) spending by reducing federal spending, Abby thinks that should keep overall govt spending the same by reducing federal spending and offsetting with increased state govt spending. Right.... that's what the Recession taught us.... that no problem that we're living beyond our means, that no problem we're taxed now more than ever, that no problem that no one has the QUEBOS to really reduce the size of all govt to a responsible, sustainable size.
on March 1,2013 | 02:05PM
64hoo wrote:
abercrombie wants that 25 million to spend later on pork barrel projects, and then raise taxes on us another way and spend that money on useless projects, and use the sequester as an excuse to raise taxes.
on March 1,2013 | 02:06PM
Kawipoo wrote:
I am for eliminating Abercrombie's salary.
on March 1,2013 | 02:07PM
PokeStop wrote:
The Troll Doll is at it again. Ambercrombie is like a nightmare!
on March 1,2013 | 02:08PM
loquaciousone wrote:
What another camera hog? Neil and Kirk got tired of Hanohano hogging all the air time so they now they want their 30 seconds of fame.
on March 1,2013 | 02:11PM
HD36 wrote:
Who's gonna pay the $25 million?
on March 1,2013 | 02:12PM
fbiguy wrote:
I'm confused...wouldn't a rational response be to empanel a team to find ways to cut the state budget since fewer federal dollars will be flowing? Just wondering....
on March 1,2013 | 02:19PM
Skyler wrote:
Nothing rational about this Governor, whatsoever.
on March 1,2013 | 02:34PM
false wrote:
Stop spending money we don't have
on March 1,2013 | 02:20PM
808kela wrote:
Stop making task forces! By the time they're done it'll be 2015
on March 1,2013 | 02:49PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
See, here's the thing....in private companies a cut back as small as this would be considered good because it increases productivity and efficiency. Getting more done with less is a positive thing. But in the Bloated World of Government even a small cut is used as an excuse to cut performance and make excuses as to why services cannot be delivered. The notion of "work harder" just never enters the discussion, does it?
on March 1,2013 | 03:07PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
Just because he didn't get his soda tax, he's looking for alternate means of taxing us!
on March 1,2013 | 03:09PM
Shawn211 wrote:
Ok lets see our newly elected Washington official see if they can now "WALK" the "WALK". Versus they repeat thing we already hear. Come Brian, Mazie, Tulsi, Colleen stop putting the blame on the other parties and show us the leadership you"sold" to the citizens of Hawaii
on March 1,2013 | 03:15PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
My goodness! That is almost the exact amount the soda pop tax was supposed to bring in. What an amazing and unexpected coincidence.
on March 1,2013 | 03:19PM
kalanik001 wrote:
neil needs the money because he is going to give state employees back the 5% pay cut they took some years ago. damn the deficit, raise taxes. how about we cut a few paid state holidays, that would be a start.
on March 1,2013 | 03:27PM
HD36 wrote:
At the current rate, the economy is growing at 2% and the government is growing at 6%. The Dem/Keynesian view is that we need government to grow at 10% so that the economy will grow at 5%. If that's the case, we should grow government at 20% and the economy will grow at 10%.
on March 1,2013 | 03:34PM
ufried wrote:
the sky is falling, the sky is falling!! gimme a break...
on March 1,2013 | 04:24PM
ShibaiDakine wrote:
No problem. All he has to do is find $25 million in "program" cuts. Good place to start is with the underperforming non-profits sucking the lifeblood out of the government coffers.
on March 1,2013 | 04:32PM
st1d wrote:
"But the president and Republicans have each refused to budge on whether to raise taxes."

or, what the masked media avoids printing: the president and democrats refused to budge on whether to spend less and not raise the debt ceiling.

a spoonful of sugar helps make the sequestration go down. of course it depends on who has to do the swallowing.

on March 1,2013 | 05:25PM
dlg808 wrote:
No gripe about the guy if you went vote for the slimy buggah....
on March 1,2013 | 06:01PM
false wrote:
How do we let the kids know how special they are?
on March 1,2013 | 06:16PM
tiki886 wrote:
Is the pre-school government baby sitting program still on the table?
on March 1,2013 | 06:39PM
onwardupward wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on March 1,2013 | 07:34PM
st1d wrote:
you've just got to love the professional standards of this paper.
on March 1,2013 | 07:39PM
localguy wrote:
Neil, Neil, Neil, get your sticky hands out of tax payer's pockets. You can't have $25 million to pay back your buds. Let the cuts happen, let it go. Not your business, not your job. You need to do your job, not think you can fix it all. Either that or resign, we are tired of you taking and taking from taxpayers. Too bad your parents failed to use birth control.
on March 1,2013 | 08:02PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Just cut the unneeded fat (programs and employees) in State government. Or, they can do like the Federal government and furlough State employees. The City should also be planning cuts.
on March 1,2013 | 09:42PM
kauai wrote:
Not only NO, but H**L NO! This guy has raided so many special funds, it's criminal! And the legislature is complicit in these misappropriation of funds! This is why I'm seriously considering giving up voting! This is sickening and disgusting! No money? Then cut back in spending! That's how private businesses do it, that's how the ordinary private citizen (households) do it! What part of "living within your means" escapes these elected idiots? Oh, I just answered my own question; they're idiots!
on March 1,2013 | 09:55PM
Fred01 wrote:
on March 1,2013 | 10:19PM
Coldwater wrote:
Neal start planing on cuts, we the people don't have the money or the good paying jobs to pay for all the taxes and fees you want.
on March 1,2013 | 10:44PM
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