“Today, the Council on Revenues brought the bad news that Governor Abercrombie’s expected surplus of approximately $200 million no longer exists. While this will require some significant reshuffling by the Abercrombie administration, this disappointing news pales in comparison to the $3 billion deficit that faced the Lingle Administration in 2008 or the $1.2 billion deficit that faced the Abercrombie Administration last year.
In fact, this projection still provides us with ample opportunities for growing our economy and reducing the cost of living for our residents. In December, Governor Abercrombie announced that his financial plan contained $120 million in new spending and $86 million in savings. If the Legislature can reduce Abercrombie’s spending without reducing his proposed cuts, we will have more room to breathe.
Then, we can start looking for ways to help the people of Hawaii live and work affordably. For example, we could find a way to pay for our road repairs without nearly doubling the amount of taxes and fees our residents pay to register their cars.
In the past few years, House Republicans have sought and found alternatives to raising taxes in the face of large budget deficits. This year will be no different. Tough decisions need to be made, but I remain confident that we can balance the budget without tax increases and make good choices that will improve Hawaii’s economy.”
Representative Gene Ward is the House Minority Leader, who specializes in state budgeting, small business support and job creation.