Governor Highlights Progress, Identifies Challenges
By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie yesterday delivered a status report to lawmakers on his New Day Plan, saying the state closed a $214 million deficit for fiscal year 2011. In the special address held at Washington Place, he also warned of looming challenges—including long-term unfunded liabilities and rising health care costs.
“Years of putting off tough decisions have finally caught up with us, and the bill for our liabilities has come due,” said Governor Abercrombie. “The answer,” he said, “is a steady commitment to the productive and constructive action.”
The three-part New Day Plan, Gov. Abercrombie said, calls for growing a sustainable economy, investing in people and transforming government.
“In our Administration’s first seven months, we overcame a $214 million deficit, and for the first time in three years, the state is entering the new fiscal year in the black,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
The state faced an $844 million deficit at the beginning of the Abercrombie Administration from December 2010 to June 2013. A biennium budget was subsequently passed by the 2011 state Legislature calling for $44 million in cuts, and an additional $50 million per year in savings to be identified by the administration. Governor Abercrombie instructed all departments to undergo a detailed process examining all government activities.
“Because of decisive action and a willingness among many to cooperate, we stabilized our financial situation in the first half of 2011 by making prudent use of the resources we had and making tough decisions with a constant eye on the future,” said Gov. Abercrombie.