It would be nice to say that this week's opening of the legislature brings with it hope and excitement for all the opportunities to make Hawaii an even better place to live.
Instead, it's looking like there are so many roadblocks to healthy debate and collaborative decisions... real positive outcomes are unlikely.
The two-party system is essentially dead. Zero republicans in the state Senate and the tiny minority in the state House is crippled by its own divisions. At least, the Governor and the leaders of House and senate act like they're from separate parties.
So far, budget hearings have exposed big gaps in the governor's financial plan, and poor performance by the state pension fund means lawmakers have to find hundreds of millions more over the next few years.
The highly-touted surplus is apparently gone.
Our legislature usually does not perform well when money is short. And there are serious crises that must be addressed, and that will take creativity, clear thinking and innovation.
For Hawaii's legislature, that's a tall order.
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