The new fiscal year begins on July 1st with a mission to change the direction of Hawai'i.
The budget passed by the legislature—which I have now signed into law—requires our Administration to operate with hundreds of millions less than we believed necessary to restore core government functions. Despite tax increases passed by the legislature, services and programs will still have to be significantly cut.
I have asked all departments to work together in a deliberate and thoughtful process that will identify programs that may be affected. In recent weeks, our administration began discontinuing financial support of programs that are valuable but can no longer be sustained, such as Vanpool Hawai'i and the State Pharmacy Assistance Program. These cuts and others that follow will be difficult—but the financial constraints we face allow for no other course of action.
While we address the challenges facing our state budget, we continue to move forward on our three-part New Day Plan.
First, we are strengthening our economy and creating good jobs for people so they can do more than just make ends meet. We are pressing ahead with our $1.4 billion dollar investment in public works projects that will immediately put money into the economy, and we are building a solid foundation for local businesses by developing our own renewable energy and ultra-high speed Internet capabilities that will give Hawaii the competitive edge that we need.
Second, we will continue transforming government and providing taxpayers with the best value for their dollar. We are constantly uncovering old problems and addressing them immediately with fresh ideas and a determination to do what is right. For example, at Mayor Wright public housing residents went without hot water for years until our administration took over and fixed the situation.
And third, no matter how tight our resources, we are securing Hawaii’s future by investing in key areas like early childhood, healthcare technology, food production, natural resources, housing, and other long term priorities. Just as a family will set aside whatever it can for the future, so too will we take actions now that will make a big difference later.
Our state is facing significant challenges, yes. But together we are charting a new course and forging ahead to a more positive future.
Bills, Bills, Bills: A Weekly Update from the Office of the Governor, June 24, 2011
Governor Abercrombie traveled to Kona today, where he visited the Natural Energy Laboratory and La‘i ‘Ōpua Village and spoke to the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. The Gov. will celebrate is birthday this weekend (on Sunday, June 26).
Last night we held a community forum at Washington Middle School. More than 400 people attended the event and engaged in Q&A with the Governor about issues ranging from education to food security and homelessness. Stay tuned for details about more upcoming forums around the state.
This week the Governor continued to review and sign bills into law. Among the measures he signed was House Bill 1342, the first step in expanding broadband, or ultra high-speed Internet access, in Hawai'i. Expanding broadband is one of the keys to transforming Hawai'i’s economy for the 21st century. As the Governor said, "Availability of broadband will change everything we do – from how we educate our children and deliver health care to the monitoring and control of our energy consumption.”
Governor Abercrombie also signed into law House Bill 1038, which begins to address the state’s unfunded liability for its retirement system and helps ensure its long-term viability. The new law is the first phase in our overall strategy to tackle the underlying reasons for growth in the state’s long-term pension liabilities.
Finally, as you probably heard in the media, the Governor signed the budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. The budget passed by the legislature is less than the Governor’s request by $133 million for FY 2012 and $251 million for FY 2013. Click here to read the Governor's message about the budget.
For more information on these or all measures that have been signed into law, please visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov.
Have a great weekend.
A hui hou,
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor