Finance director says 'Inouye Cliff' worse for state than 'Fiscal Cliff'

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's state finance director says the death of longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has created an economic cliff in Hawaii that's far worse for the state than the federal fiscal cliff.

Kalbert Young told a joint committee hearing at the Hawaii Capitol on Thursday that the "Inouye cliff" is immeasurable and could be seen over several years.

Young said in an interview that quantitatively measuring Inouye's impact on bringing federal funds to Hawaii is like trying to predict which way the wind will blow.

Nearly one-fifth of state expenses, $2 billion, are paid for with federal funds.

The budget proposed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office anticipates as much as $45 million in federal spending could be lost as Congress considers how to deal with rising debt and costs.

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