Charting a New Fiscal Course for Hawaii: Fiscal Architecture Approach
From UHERO, January 29, 2020
The Hawai’i Executive Conference (HEC)’s recent report, Troubled Waters: Charting a New Fiscal Course For Hawaii, makes a compelling case for the Hawaii community to focus on “the future fiscal capacity of Hawaii state and local governments.”1 HEC examines three public expenditure challenges totaling $88.4 billion that residents will likely face over the next thirty years: (i) addressing public employee pension and retiree health obligations ($25.7 billion) ; (ii) building and maintaining a 21st century physical infrastructure ($47.4 billion); and (iii) preparing for natural disasters, sea level rise and climate change ($15.3 billion).2
The HEC Report does not produce estimates of future government revenues nor does it provide specific solutions. Rather it argues that Hawaii’s State and county governments have “limited financial resources” and thus a “major effort must be undertaken to formulate fixes.” To make this work Hawaii must begin a phase of civic engagement that will require vision, collaboration, and innovation.3
The purpose of this essay is to contribute to the HEC report by picking up on the question of what spending and revenue changes make “fiscal sense” for Hawaii’s state and county governments in the next three decades.4 What is not recommended is to do nothing and try to muddle through until some action becomes absolutely necessary….
read … Full Report
PDF: Troubled Waters: Charting a New Fiscal
Oct, 2019: $88B Debt: Hawaii CHANGE Initiative highlights state's future financial obligations