Governor Abercrombie signs budget into law, more cuts on the way

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Governor Neil Abercrombie Thursday morning signed the state budget into law for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The budget calls for a $50 million "fiscal constraints" reduction for each of those two years.

To come up with that money Abercrombie asked his Administration to identify programs, services, and/or activities for possible elimination.

"The budget passed by the legislature requires our Administration to operate with hundreds of millions less than we believed necessary to restore core government functions. Despite tax increases passed by the legislature, services and programs will still have to be significantly cut." Abercrombie said.

Abercrombie wrote in a letter to all department heads last week they need to target programs that are marginal, underperforming or low-priority.

"I have asked all departments to work together in a deliberate and thoughtful process that will identify programs that may be affected. In recent weeks, our administration began discontinuing financial support of programs that are valuable but can no longer be sustained, such as Vanpool Hawai'i and the State Pharmacy Assistance Program. These cuts and others that follow will be difficult but the financial constraints we face allow for no other course of action. "

The Governor may face some tough questions Thursday night concerning potential cuts when he and Lt. Governor Brian Schatz host a community forum at Washington Middle School.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is expected to finish at 7:30 p.m. Also attending the forum will be Comptroller Bruce Coppa and the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, Marc Alexander.

We will have a live report from the forum tonight on Hawaii News Now at 6pm.

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