Senate Minority Reports on Conference Draft of Budget
News Release from office of Sen Sam Slom May 4, 2015
HONOLULU—The Conference Committee on Friday released its version of House Bill 500 relating to the Hawaii state operating budget for fiscal biennium 2016-2017. The Senate Minority published its Budget Report today, noting that although the conference draft of HB500, totaling in excess of $26 billion, appears to spend less than the Governor's version, a slew of appropriations bills have been passed which undermine that assertion.
Senator Sam Slom says, "At first glance, the conference draft of the state operating budget seems to have significantly cut spending, but once you tally up the separate appropriation bills the current spending plan is almost identical to the Governor's initial budget request. Hawaii will be still spending more than it takes in over the next few years and will have depleted its carry over balances as early as 2021."
"The state general fund deficit will be unsustainable past fiscal year 2021. In other words, if general fund appropriations continue to grow at an annual average of 5% as they have in recent years, the state is projected to deplete its positive carry-over ending balance from previous years by fiscal year 2021. If the state continues to spend more than it collects, fiscal reserves will continue to decrease, and can have potential negative effects on our state's bond rating." adds Senator Slom.
Finally, the Senate Minority warns that collective bargaining increases are crippling state finances.
Senator Slom says, "The Senate Minority also takes a strong stance on collective bargaining, for the simple reason that the state cannot afford to keep saying yes to every request for an increase. Collective bargaining bills total more than ¾ of a billion dollars in general funds this session. We certainly cannot afford to make people think the budget bill is the only approved spending, then go ahead and pass separate appropriation bills including bills on collective bargaining. It is time to be fiscally responsible as we are now late in the financial cycle and it is just a matter of time before the market has an adjustment. For these reasons, I will be voting no on House Bill 500."
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HB500: Text, Status
Related: Senate Minority Alternative Budget cuts spending, caps collective bargaining