Economists tell lawmakers the worst is over - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Economists tell lawmakers the worst is over

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Marcus Oshiro Marcus Oshiro
Carl Bonham Carl Bonham
David Carey III David Carey III

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - For the first time in a long time, there was good news to come out of an economic meeting at the State Capitol.

"I think the positive sign is that the recession seems to be over and there are signs of positive growth in the out years 2011, 2012," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Finance Committee Chair.

Economists told lawmakers visitor arrivals and spending are slowly growing, the housing sector has bottomed out and the U.S. and worldwide economy is on the rebound.

"You put all that together in your crystal ball and it tells you that we are likely to continue to see growth in the visitor sector," said Carl Bonham, Ph.D., University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO) Executive Director.

While projections are nice the real world is still hurting especially hotels.

"You never can predict the future in unstable times," said David Carey III, Outrigger Enterprises Group President & CEO.

Carey doesn't expect real growth until 2012.

"Our bookings seemed to have leveled out, they're not getting worse, having said that there doesn't seem to be a robust up turn either," said Carey.

Right now the state budget is still more than a billion dollars short and there's been a lot of talk about cutting spending and increasing taxes which could be the worst thing to do.

"It's just taking money out of the economy. Obviously you have to have the money in order to spend it and when the government cuts its spending it's not that different from when you or I cut our spending, they both drag down the economy and a tax increase is also taking money out of the economy," said Bonham.

The economists advice, protect essential services like education, health and public safety and then make specific cuts in other sectors.

Next it's up to lawmakers to decide to listen.

"It's possible we'll be wrong one way or another, so take it with a grain of salt," said Bonham.

The reason they could be wrong is a terrorist attack, spike in oil prices or swine flu could all make the economy tank which is why there is no money back guarantee with today's economic projections.

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