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Governor stays 'flexible' on budget

An updated revenue forecast in January will help determine whether tax hikes are needed

By B.J. Reyes


Gov. Neil Abercrombie says his administration will wait until the Council on Revenues issues its quarterly forecast next month before deciding whether tax increases or any other type of revenue-boosting measures are needed to balance the two-year budget he proposed this week.

"We'll deal with the revenue question and where we go with that and what we're going to need when we have the Council on Revenues projections," Abercrombie said Thursday at a news conference in his office. "We're making the best projection we can right now from the figures that are available to us."

Abercrombie's budget, which calls for $439 million in new spending next fiscal year with an emphasis on early childhood education programs and upgrading the state's antiquated computer systems, is based on the Council's September forecast of 4.9 percent revenue growth in fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

The Council could revise that forecast when it meets Jan. 3. Through the first four months of the current fiscal year, state tax collections are up 11.3 percent from the same period a year ago, but Council members have raised concerns over how renewable energy tax credit claims — which may begin to show up on tax returns early in 2013 — could reduce state income.

"We're flexible," Abercrombie said. "We think that so long as we have the key programs in mind and in line that we'll be able to make such adjustments, and we'll make recommendations for such adjustments as seems worthwhile for that kind of investment."

Abercrombie presented the budget to the Legislature on Monday, as required by law, but did not discuss details at that time out of respect for the death that day of U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye.

On Thursday, Abercrombie and state Budget Director Kalbert Young highlighted the budget's long-term strategy toward addressing early childhood education, updating inefficient and antiquated state computer systems and putting money toward the state's unfunded liabilities associated with employee and retiree health benefits.

"The administration is going to put out the target and the mark for the state of Hawaii to get on a pre-funding strategy to address its unfunded liability that equates to a start of $100 million a year," Young said. "It represents only a fraction of what is actually required of the state, though."

The budget includes about $59 million in each fiscal year for information technology initiatives and improvements to the state's aging computer systems, $44.9 million over two years for the Executive Office of Early Learning and early childhood education and health initiatives, and $29.3 million over two years for digital curriculum for school Common Core State Standards.

"We are putting forward what we think are the fundamental necessities that we have to address as a state," Abercrombie said. "They can't be addressed, essentially, by individuals alone and be accomplished."

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
A New Day in Hawaii begins when Abercrombie resigns!
on December 21,2012 | 12:40AM
MakikiView wrote:
Line's tiring already
on December 21,2012 | 06:01AM
wiliki wrote:
Abercrombie's the best governor we've ever had....
on December 21,2012 | 07:11AM
Kuniarr wrote:
You are definitely correct, wiliki Abercrombie's the best governor we've ever had when it comes to spending, spending, and spending. And the best liar of them all - he's the only governor who calls money from bond sales as surplus.
on December 21,2012 | 09:23AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope... he's made the difficult choices as Lingle never did. He's maintained social services.
on December 21,2012 | 03:21PM
what wrote:
No matter how much money the people give, government leaders will find ways to spend even more. Abercrombie's irresponsible spending is setting us up for another budget crises, at which time he will cry for another tax hike. The cycle will repeat over and over, and the sheep will continue to vote the same Democrats into office, over and over.
on December 21,2012 | 12:44AM
toomuchpilikia wrote:
"That 's the way we have always done it" The blind voting for the same.....no change...bah hum bug!
on December 21,2012 | 04:18AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope.... he's doing a better job at holding costs and providing services than did his Republican predecessor.
on December 21,2012 | 07:12AM
toomuchpilikia wrote:
I assume you are talking about Lingle. You and me both know she was completely powerless against the square building. Every single veto she imposed was stopped! Spend, spend, spend...That is what Democrats do best...Why? "Thats the way we have always done it" in Hawaii!
on December 21,2012 | 08:22AM
wiliki wrote:
Nope... she needed to work with Democrats-- like she says she is very bipartisan oriented? Baloney....
on December 21,2012 | 03:19PM
mustangguru wrote:
Have you seen our State highways? Kam Highway in Mililani and many other areas are trashed. Been that way for how long. Providing services? BS
on December 21,2012 | 08:23AM
wiliki wrote:
This has been a record year for road repair.
on December 21,2012 | 03:19PM
Kuniarr wrote:
"Holding costs", wiliki? How did he hold "costs", wiliki? What was it that he held cost on? Thought so.
on December 21,2012 | 09:55AM
wiliki wrote:
Kunia ask the teachers about their 5% pay cut? Thought so....
on December 21,2012 | 03:20PM
hawaiikone wrote:
wiliki, you stepped in it this time....
on December 21,2012 | 01:13PM
wiliki wrote:
better luck for me....
on December 21,2012 | 03:20PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Since taking office, the guy in the short pants has been spending money like a drunken sailor and now is considering tax increases. Nice going Neil.
on December 21,2012 | 02:52AM
Kawipoo wrote:
He is a drunk but not a sailor.
on December 21,2012 | 03:24AM
allie wrote:
on December 21,2012 | 05:15AM
bender wrote:
Hey Loquaciousone, all us drunken sailors take offense at being ccompared to Abercrombie. Besides, we never spend money we don't have.
on December 21,2012 | 04:55AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I apologize to all sailors drunken or not. I should have used John White and PRP as an example. Nothing can insult that guy because he has no morals.
on December 21,2012 | 05:38AM
bender wrote:
The gov talks as if his proposed budget is a done deal. Doesn't he understand that the legislature might have a different idea, they often do. Was thinking that perhaps he should match his budget to what is coming in instead of talking about increasing the tax intake to match his spending desires. Either that or he can go get a side job to make up the difference.
on December 21,2012 | 04:58AM
allie wrote:
true..it will look very different after each bill goes through committees
on December 21,2012 | 05:16AM
wiliki wrote:
This is self-evident in his statement. The Governor served for quite a while in the state legislature before he decided to run for Congress.
on December 21,2012 | 07:14AM
LittleEarl_01 wrote:
Notice no mention was made in regard to cutting cost of government, only spending, spending, spending. Insofar as the antiquated state computer systems, I'm quite confident that these systems didn't just become antiquated. Why hasn't the State updated the computer system a little each year?
on December 21,2012 | 05:07AM
soundofreason wrote:
That would mean planning, And, yeah, we don't do that here. You know - start building a rail before you really know the "real" path and all.
on December 21,2012 | 06:38AM
localguy wrote:
Neil, Neil, Neil, what in the world are you and state Budget Director Kalbert Young thinking with "New Spending" as in pre school, other areas? We already pay for K-12, pre school costs should rightfully fall on the parents, not tax payers who no longer have or never had children. Also, what have you done to cut our state's way to high level of bureaucrats? We could reduce the force by around 10% with no drop in services, clean out the deadwood, starting with your staff. Do not even talk about taxes when you have failed to cut state spending, your job requirement. It is ok to admit you can't do this work and resign. It would look better for you and lots better for tax payers.
on December 21,2012 | 05:46AM
Wazdat wrote:
on December 21,2012 | 05:51AM
soundofreason wrote:
Go to page 5 of this and look at the 3rd column. We are spending MILLIONS of dollars for unqualified babysitters/RELATIVES, WHILE the state is pushing for early education. Go figure. Again....MILLIONS of dollars. http://hawaii.gov/dhs/self-sufficiency/childcare/select/Childcare.text_cover.pdf
on December 21,2012 | 06:47AM
allie wrote:
small minded, inaccurate comment. Please look at what he is actually proposing.
on December 21,2012 | 07:00AM
ShibaiDakine wrote:
It is hard to comprehend how the governor or the legislature can make any informed decisions or figure out how much he needs to spend when his administration has yet to publish the State's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for FY2012 which ended June 30, 2012. Let the public see where the money went in the recent past before we decide where it should go in the future. All else is smoke and mirrors.
on December 21,2012 | 05:56AM
Wazdat wrote:
How about PAVING and FIXING the ROADS.... PLEASE this is a JOKE already.
on December 21,2012 | 05:57AM
McCully wrote:
The Gov better realize there's no more money coming from Wash in the foreseen future.
on December 21,2012 | 06:06AM
soundofreason wrote:
"Gov. Neil Abercrombie says his administration will wait until the Council on Revenues issues its quarterly forecast next month before deciding whether tax increases or any other type of revenue-boosting measures are needed to balance the two-year budget he proposed this week.">>> The preceding statement is what we refer to as "lube".
on December 21,2012 | 06:35AM
Bdpapa wrote:
When you cut the budget and live within your means, talk to us. You want to add aprogram? Well, cut another to pay for it. We cannot continue adding more programs. We don't need a lot of these programs.
on December 21,2012 | 06:48AM
Pacej001 wrote:
"The administration is going to put out the target and the mark for the state of Hawaii to get on a pre-funding strategy to address its unfunded liability that equates to a start of $100 million a year," Young said. "It represents only a fraction of what is actually required of the state, though."-------- Now, let's see. The "pre-funding" of the states goverrnment retirement system shortfall ($11billion?) represents only a fraction of what is actually required. Calbert, you got som 'spraining to do. Just how big a hole is the Hawaii taxpayer in when it comes to these "unfunded liabilities" (over $21billion in pension/health cost for government retirees)? I get the feeling that $100mil a year just isn't going to do it. Meanwhile, the problem grows and grows. Wonder when our stellar press is going to get around to questioning the governor's long term fiscal plan--- oh,wait, never mind. That long term spending stuff is only for foolish Republicans.
on December 21,2012 | 07:26AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Gee whiz, I was so happy to learn that Hawaii has no unfunded liabilities. And if we actually did have a few billion in unfunded liabilities we'd take decisive action to fund them within the next 100 years.

Spend! Spend! Spend!

It was also heart warming to learn that Abercrombie wants to raise government employee pay because that is a key priority for every hardworking person in the State! We need to pay these people more! Lots more!

I guess we could always to raise revenue by greasing development of public lands. We could call it something like PLDC! Yeah, if we give away the public's birthrights we can raise more money for salaries and staff!

Spend! Spend! Spend!

on December 21,2012 | 07:36AM
Ronin006 wrote:
"We're flexible," Abercrombie said. Interpretation: “We welcome more spending.”
on December 21,2012 | 09:31AM
Ronin006 wrote:
$439 million in new spending next fiscal year with an emphasis on early childhood education programs. Translation: $439 million to baby sit your kids.
on December 21,2012 | 09:33AM
allie wrote:
wrong..you apparently have no idea what he is proposing. His plan is for access to high quality pre-school where pre-math and pre-literacy skills are taught. Geesh...you are 100 years behind the times
on December 21,2012 | 09:38AM
ShibaiDakine wrote:
Just like the "high quality" state of the art public schools where math and literacy are taught?
on December 21,2012 | 10:17AM
Ronin006 wrote:
.What are "pre math" and pre-literacy" skills? The only thing 3-year old pre-schoolers want to do and will do is play games and nap. It is child care by another name. Kindergarten was supposed to prepare kids for elementary school, but we have little to show for the millions of dollars spent on kindergarten programs. So now the Governor proposes to spend millions more on so-called pre-schools to prepare kids for kindergarten. It makes no sense unless you look at it from a vote-buying perspective. I suppose we soon will have people advocating for “toddler schools” at taxpayer expense to prepare 2-year olds for pre-school. It is no wonder so many families today are dysfunctional - kids grow up being cared for by so many people they hardly know their parents.
on December 21,2012 | 12:09PM
allie wrote:
Children have 85% of their brain "wired" by age 5. We should put a proportionate amount of money in early education. High school is way too late. Same with middle school. Please give the governor's good efforts a fair hearing. And you are wrong about kindergartens. You have a lot to read. Come to see us at UH COE!
on December 21,2012 | 02:30PM
64hoo wrote:
don't use my tax money for the brats let the parents use there money not mine and if you don't see that allie you must be deaf and blind.
on December 21,2012 | 05:29PM
jomama wrote:
Nice. Hope your not someone's mom or dad.
on December 21,2012 | 11:43PM
Shycan wrote:
Right on.
on December 21,2012 | 07:33PM
jomama wrote:
maybe you should educate yourself before you go spouting off. $4 million is for early childhood. $435 million is for something else. And you don't have a clue.
on December 21,2012 | 11:42PM
loquaciousone wrote:
For our Governor, even his long pants are short.
on December 21,2012 | 10:41AM
ichiban wrote:
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!flexible on budget==GET REAL==messing with tax rate increases to remedy government mismanagement of taxpayers dollars. Once again putting the cart before the horse. "Forecasting" budget increase of $439 million in NEW spending for next fiscal year. Bet some of that is going for the "hidden" cost of rail. And now we know why the state wants to change the tax credit code solar energy system. How about making a drastic change in the state budget like NO SPENDING INCREASES, fix the infrastructure with the money you have, no increase in wages for our legislatures, better contracts where whomever gets laid off doesn't receive a golden parachute severance pay, ETC.,ETC.
on December 21,2012 | 12:17PM
tim5fl wrote:
Poor Hawaii, we have a clown for Gov. and a snot-nose kid for Lt Gov. . auwe
on December 21,2012 | 01:20PM
64hoo wrote:
governer stays flexable on the budget should be governer stays flexable on raising the defecit thats what the budgets about.
on December 21,2012 | 05:18PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Why does the state need to get into "early childhood education"? Because it is "voluntary" , I assume it is before kindergarten and It should be the parents' responsibilities. Taxpayers are already paying for regular schooling and that is ENOUGH!
on December 21,2012 | 06:36PM
jomama wrote:
you pay now or later.
on December 21,2012 | 11:39PM
SteveToo wrote:
Hey Neil you ROTC burning dude how about less spending and now tax increases?
on December 21,2012 | 08:34PM
jomama wrote:
its a joke to say that early childhood education is a focus when it is less than 1% of $439 million increase. Early childhood ed needs to be funded, we are one of 8 states that does not. So much for caring for our keiki and our future.
on December 21,2012 | 11:38PM
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