HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement today regarding the Council on Revenues’ reduced revenue forecast.
“The Council on Revenues’ lower revenue projection is in line with what our Administration has been anticipating. That is why we have been taking steps to reduce government expenses and streamline operations.
“The fact that the Council on Revenues has lowered its revenue projection for the seventh time since March 2008 is another reminder that we simply cannot afford to operate state government at the current level of spending.
“This latest projection, which lowers the revenue outlook by 1.5 percent for the current fiscal year, and then revises it upward for FY11, means an additional $98 million less revenue than we originally anticipated through June 30, 2011.
“While our Administration has already taken steps to cut spending by more than $2 billion, the reality is over the next few years, the state will have substantially less money to spend. Even with projected better forecasts in FY2011 and beyond, the State’s general fund revenues will not return to FY2008 pre-recession levels until FY2012.
“To close the remaining budget shortfall, we will need to reduce the State’s labor costs, which comprise 70 percent of our operating budget. I remain hopeful we will be able to reach an agreement with the public sector unions that minimizes the impact on public services.
“In addition, all state government agencies – in all three branches – will need to continue to carefully re-examine all operations to ensure that we eliminate repetitive or overlapping services and programs, maximize efficiencies, and focus our limited resources on core services that protect our most vulnerable citizens, ensure health and public safety, and build the foundation for our long-term future.
“At the same time, the public also needs to re-evaluate its expectations of what services government can provide given the realities of our current budget situation.”