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Saturday, October 23, 2010
KITV Debate: Abercrombie can't name a single issue on which he differs with HSTA
By News Release @ 12:31 AM :: 5379 Views :: Energy, Environment

Duke completes debate sweep


HONOLULU - Travis Taylor, communications director for the Aiona-Finnegan Campaign, today issued the following statement regarding the live KITV-4 gubernatorial debate between Duke Aiona and our opponent.

"Our opponent either stumbled, ducked or just didn't know the answer to many of the substantive questions he was asked.

"There's a difference between campaigning and governing, but our opponent is clearly more interested in the former than the latter.

"Our opponent has made promises to create new government bureaucracies and restore all public employee furloughs. Behind our opponents' plan is the fact that he would either cut more programs, raise taxes or fail to deliver on his promises.

"In every debate, Duke Aiona has clearly articulated the real solutions he's ready to provide now to immediately create job opportunities, strengthen the local economy and reform our public education system. His knowledge of each issue facing our working families and small businesses is unmatched by his opponent, and more importantly, Duke Aiona and Lynn Finnegan are offering real solutions - not rhetoric."


Federal funds helped pay for education

The Aiona-Finnegan campaign is setting the record straight on false statements made by our opponent during the live KITV-4 Gubernatorial Debate.


Congress appropriated money to eliminate school furloughs.


The state received $105 million in June 2009 to help pay for education. The state applied all of these funds to help pay teachers. If these funds had not been used this way, there could have been more furlough days or layoffs of public school teachers.


Opponent waffles on education reform


Our opponent will stand up to the Hawaii State Teachers Association for education reform.


When asked to name three positions where our opponent differed from the HSTA, he couldn't name one. He has flip-flopped multiple times

Our opponent has changed positions multiple times on the ballot proposition for an appointed school board, waffling on a unique opportunity to establish a direct line of responsibility to the Governor.

Our opponent also opposes a comprehensive, independent audit of the Department of Education, which hasn't been conducted in nearly 40 years - since 1973.

Our opponent has been unwilling or unable to demonstrate that he will stand up for education reform.


Opponent misunderstands DOE funding


Our opponent says that the current Administration should “know where the dollars are” within the Department of Education.


The Department of Education and Board of Education operate autonomously and are not accountable to the Governor, no matter who is serving on the 5th Floor. The fact that Mr. Abercrombie does not understand this key challenge in Hawai‘i’s education system is troubling.
This lack of accountability is what has created the challenges within Hawai‘i’s public education system. To achieve a certain level of accountability, Duke Aiona supports the constitutional amendment for an appointed school board. This is the same issue on which Mr. Abercrombie has flip-flopped several times.
The Lingle-Aiona Administration did investigate DOE funding when they first came into office and discovered less than 50 cents of every dollar was reaching the classroom. The current Administration is the first Administration to shed light on the DOE spending.


Opponent wrong on budget


Our opponent claims that public worker furloughs were not in the six-year financial plan presented to the State Legislature in October 2010.


The six-year financial plan presented by the state Department of Budget and Finance included the continuation of state employee furloughs for fiscal year 2012.

Our opponent does not understand the budgeting process and does not understand the difference between a financial plan and a state biennium budget.

Further, our opponent has said that he would restore all public worker furloughs, but has not said if he would cut programs, raise taxes or fail to deliver on his promise in order to make up for the approximately $192 million it would cost to restore all furloughs.


Opponent wrong on rail EIS


Our opponent said it's not the job of the Governor to sign off on the Honolulu rail transit project.


It is the Governor’s obligation to assess the financial impact of the project on the state’s finances, as the state will be held financially liable if the City and County of Honolulu cannot pay back the money to build, maintain and operate the rail system. The Governor has the responsibility to the people of Hawai‘i to ensure the program is both environmentally sound and financially viable.
Additionally, the EIS for the proposed rail project is not yet completed.  The EIS currently does not include the final programmatic agreement on historic and cultural mitigation. Until the programmatic agreement is completed, the State EIS is not final. Tonight, however, Mr. Abercrombie has committed to sign an incomplete document.


Lt. Governor salary lower than stated


KITV-4 reporter Keoki Kerr said that the Lt. Governor is paid close to $135,000 per year.


The position of Hawai‘i Lt. Governor earns $114,420 - before furloughs and salary reductions. Governor Lingle and Lt. Governor Aiona were the first elected officials in the state of Hawai‘i to take a pay cut in response to the economic downturn. The Governor, Lt. Governor and their cabinet members adhered to the statutory 5 percent paycut, followed by an additional, voluntary reduction of approximately 9 percent. The Executive Branch leadership’s total reduction was approximately 14 percent.


Growing government costs taxpayers


Our opponent said he can create government agencies without increasing the state budget.


Even the smallest state agencies are costly to taxpayers. Our opponent continues to claim that he can draw down more federal funds to finance new agencies, yet he never specifies how he would get that money. Even if he could bring in substantially more federal funds, these dollars are either tax dollars or deficit-funded dollars that must be paid back with interest.  Either way, the taxpayers would lose with our opponent.

There's a clear difference between campaigning and governing, but our opponent continues to campaign in a way that does not take into consideration the realistic situation and responsibilities of a Governor.


Duke and Lynn to usher a new chapter


Our opponent said Duke Aiona will continue the same policies and practices of the current Administration.


Duke Aiona has mapped out a comprehensive plan that sets forth a bold, new plan for the State of Hawaii, including cutting by more than half our dependence on foreign fossil fuel by 2018 and placing time limits on the issuance of government permits and approvals, among other innovative initiatives.

For example, an Aiona-Finnegan Administration will decentralize education decision-making to the local level by encouraging principals to be the chief education officers of their schools and directing 90 cents of every education dollar to the school level.

Duke Aiona and Lynn Finnegan's comprehensive policy agenda of real solutions for all of Hawaii is available online at



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