State of the State Address Reveals Good Intentions, But Fails To Endorse Robust Economic Reform
Questions Linger About Unfunded Liabilities, Economic Vitality
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, HAWAII--Jan. 26, 2015--Following Governor Ige's first State of the State address, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii praised the Governor's desire to improve government efficiency, reduce the imbalance in spending, and foster entrepreneurship in the islands. However, the measures proposed stop short of what is needed for long-term reform and robust development of the Hawaii economy.
"Governor Ige has stated publicly that he intends to run a more balanced budget without raising taxes," stated Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. "We applaud his intention and the implicit recognition that the people and businesses of this state are already heavily taxed. Mr. Ige's desire to make government more efficient is a step in the right direction. However, in order to do so, there are hard choices ahead for our political leaders. One of the most important has to do with the state's multiple unfunded liabilities, an issue that needs far more attention in the state budget. Trimming fat and going paperless will only be cosmetic improvements if we do not take long-term and effective action to deal with the billions of dollars in debt that are creating a sinkhole for the state's economic future."
Dr. Akina continued: "While the Governor's speech promoted improving the efficiency of fiscal operations, little was offered that will produce a more robust Hawaii economy that attracts global investment and fosters business competition and growth. Powerful, yet simple, measures, such as seeking limited exemption from the Jones Act to cheaply import LNG or purchase low-cost inter-island ferries, is one example of a solution not mentioned."