State of the State Budget 2016
Governor Ige’s Executive Supplemental Budget for fiscal year 2017 was transmitted to the
legislature in December, giving the Grassroot Institute the opportunity to examine the state’s
multi-year financial plan in light of the revised revenue and spending projections. Unfortunately, what we found is that there is still a long way to go when it comes to creating true fiscal accountability in the Aloha state. Though the Governor has pledged to make the government more efficient, we lack the information to determine whether there is any weight behind the promises or whether we are looking at yet another series of overly optimistic projections that will only push the state’s economic woes further down the road.
Adding to that concern is the continued inability of the state to confront the depth of the
liabilities related to the Employee Retirement System and Employee Union Trust Fund. There
are millions of dollars that remain unaccounted for, and even the rosiest predictions of the state’s economic future are stymied by the size of this particular budget sinkhole. While some might claim that considering worst-case scenarios on the ERS/EUTF liabilities paints too gloomy a picture, ignoring them so as to create a more optimistic financial plan is tantamount to lying to both the taxpayers and the employees themselves.