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Despite budget surplus, legislators could easily add to debt burden

By Joe Kent

Hawaii has a record-high state finances surplus this 12 months of $4 billion, and listed here are among the methods our legislators at the moment are planning to spend it:

>> $250 million on tax rebates of $300 for every taxpayer who earns lower than $100,000, and $300 for every of their dependents, and of $100 for every taxpayer who earns greater than $100,000, and the identical per dependent.

>> $350 million to $400 million towards development of a brand new Aloha Stadium.

>> $185 million additional for debt service.

>> $350 million for public pensions.

>> $350 million for public worker well being advantages.

Photo by Charley Myers

>> $600 million for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

>> $100 million for the prevention of illness outbreak.

>> $174 million for the University of Hawaii and the state’s group faculties.

Some of these spending plans are encouraging, however some are usually not. Is there any doubt, for instance, that the Aloha Stadium challenge can be amongst Hawaii’s future white-elephant boondoggles?

And, positive, it’s nice that they’re placing cash towards the state’s large money owed and unfunded liabilities. But a few of these debt funds might really be for anticipated will increase within the pension debt from upcoming public worker wage hikes.

For instance, legislators could possibly be aiming to extend public instructor salaries by between $7,700 and $26,000 per 12 months, however that may improve the state’s pension debt by $376 million, based on Thomas Williams, govt director of the state Employees’ Retirement System (see right here, web page 8).

Most different public unions are nonetheless in negotiations for wage will increase, a few of which can be overdue however would, if licensed, nonetheless improve the liabilities of the state’s advantages methods.

Will our legislators use the record-high finances surplus to pay down the state’s record-high money owed? Or will their spending plans find yourself including to them? We will replace the numbers as soon as the finances lastly emerges from behind closed doorways.

To see extra about the place the cash could be going, verify this out.
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Joe Kent is govt vice chairman of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

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