Experts unveil deeper state budget gap - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Experts unveil deeper state budget gap

Rep. Marcus Oshiro Rep. Marcus Oshiro
Bobby Yamada Bobby Yamada

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Governor Linda Lingle must once again scramble to come up $185 million by June to balance the budget. The forecast came from the State council on Revenues Thursday afternoon.

It once again lowered the projection of how much the state will take in compared to last year. Its prediction now stands at a 9% revenue loss.

More cutbacks, so what's the big deal right? Well, the latest forecast means serious state budget cuts, so deep, that it could affect your job, your kid's education, even access to healthcare.

Bobby Yamada is the queen of cuts.

"Funky haircuts, that's fun to cut," said barber Bobby Yamada.

We see cuts of all kinds everyday. Customers to everyday citizens. But nothing as serious as the Hawaii State Council on Revenues' latest forecast. Not the type with Sharie Shima. A financial forecast and it doesn't look good.

"We have our work cut out for us," said House Finance Chair Rep. Marcus Oshiro.

That's why officials announce Hawaii's projected tax revenue is down nearly double. They call the areas that will take the hardest hit "The Big Four."

"Higher education, public schools, human services, and health services," said Rep. Oshiro.

The shortfall that Governor Lingle must come up with is big. From education to labor savings, she needs to bridge a budget hole of more than $600 million the next three years.

Shortfall in revenue to scarce scalps, Yamada says the missing money is a lot like hair.

"No choice at all because if there's no hair, what can we do about it?," said Yamada.

The problem is nothing to brush off, she says whether it's a budget-hole or bad hair cut, it's important for the people in charge to carefully address the problem.

"Make them feel we're ready to serve them with the best of our ability and experience," said Yamada.

The cuts will go deep, but even the most harrowing situation has a solution. The Council on Revenues says Governor Lingle must take immediate action to find the funds. It calls for cutbacks, spending restraints and a stepped up approach for savings through public employee union contracts.

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