Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) tonight expressed cautious optimism about the State of Hawai’i’s economic future today following the Council on Revenues’ announcement of a projected $44 million increase in general-fund revenues for this fiscal year.
“The Council on Revenues’ projected increase will certainly help the state close this year’s budget gap and take a little of the pressure off the state budget in coming years. By ensuring we maintain fiscal restraint and place further emphasis on stimulating our small businesses, we have a very strong case that damaging tax increases will be unnecessary,” Ward said.
Prior to today’s announcement, the state faced a $71 million deficit through June, 2011. The additional $44 million will not only impact the shortfall in the current budget, but it will likely reduce the $772 million deficit the state is facing in 2012-2013. However, this increase will still leave the State of Hawai’i with a substantial gap the legislature will have work through this session.
“While I am encouraged by this 1% increase, we are still facing a budget crisis that the Governor, the Legislature and the people of Hawai’i will have to work hard to overcome. There are many tough choices ahead of us, but I know we will have to be fiscally responsible and make tough choices that will help us build a sustainable economy. While we have a stronger outlook, the current economic crisis is not over,” Ward said.