Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, November 23, 2013
Talking Turkey about Hawaii’s Spending
By Grassroot Institute @ 2:19 AM :: 4266 Views :: Hawaii State Government, Hawaii Statistics, Taxes

Talking Turkey about Hawaii’s Spending

 Truth in Accounting's "Turkey States" courtesy StateDataLab.org

by Malia Hill, Grassroot Institute

No one is going to faint from shock when I mention that Hawaii state spending for fiscal year 2012 outstripped income yet again, making us one of Truth in Accounting’s “turkey states”—that’s the thirteen states that overspent their income in 2012 despite the recovering economy. There’s some comfort to be found in the fact that we’re not the biggest turkey in the bunch. That dubious distinction goes to New Jersey, which ended up more than $5 billion in the red, though some of that is likely related to the effects of Super Storm Sandy. Hawaii is one of the smaller states, but with a net revenue of -.39 billion dollars, determined to overspend like a much larger one. We’re like the Rudy of poor state fiscal planning.

And we’re consistent. Sheila Weinberg, CEO of Truth in Accounting states that, “Since 2009 when we began analyzing state liabilities and assets available to pay debt, Hawaii has been our worst ‘Sinkhole State’ every year.  Each Hawaii taxpayer’s share of state debt was $41,300 at the end of fiscal year 2012.  The lack of truth and transparency in the budget process allows elected officials to claim they are "balancing" the budget, as required by law, and over-spend at the same time.”

Right. The unfunded liabilities. It’s funny how every analysis of our state economy and budget always comes back to the unfunded liabilities. This particular elephant in the room of our political discourse has grown big enough that we’re now compelled to acknowledge it, but too few people are willing to point out that there shouldn’t be an elephant in the darned room in the first place much less question how to get rid of it. Instead, most of the “solutions” we hear from the Governor and other political leaders amount to putting the elephant on a diet or moving him to the side a bit so he’s not blocking the TV anymore.

It’s as though we have—all of us—grown complacent about the state of Hawaii’s finances. We’re a state that overspends. We don’t look to the future. We continually raise taxes on businesses and further hamstring our own economic recovery. And then we shrug. That’s just how we are. Sure, it’s a shame. Yes, it definitely could be better. But what can we do about it?

Of course, there are those who continually raise the issue, exhort others to act, and push for change. Senator Slom, Civil Beat, Malia Zimmerman and others do try to shine a light on our disastrous spending practices and explain their effects. But one still wonders whether the message has completely sunk in: that this does matter. That it can be changed. And, though uncomfortable, change can be good. (Or, at the very least, failure to change is going to cause some very serious problems in the future.)

Hawaii doesn’t have to be a “turkey state.” We don’t have to make the top 10 on every single list highlighting poor spending practices, budget shortfalls, or state liabilities. We can stay true to our tradition of generosity, hospitality, and caring for others (especially family), without mortgaging the future for our children. We don’t have to be a paradise for the senses and hell for the business owner. But to do so, we have to break free from the complacency that seems to define how too many people look at the state political system. It’s time to talk turkey with our politicians—on both sides of the aisle—about the state of our state spending. And (sticking with the overuse of bird metaphors) it’s time for them to eat a little crow about the lack of action and foresight they've exercised so far. Even if it hard for them to swallow. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group


Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break


DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group


Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii



National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii



Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii


Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii