Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

An Intern’s Take on the Gov’s Speech by grassroothawaii
January 25, 2011, 11:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Grassroot Institute is pleased to welcome Joanne Badua as a policy intern. Joanne earned her undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurial studies at HPU, and plans on pursuing law school in the fall. An immigrant of the Philippines, Joanne plans to own her own business someday, and currently assists her family with their foster home for the elderly. Here is a blog piece she wrote on the State of the State yesterday. Enjoy!

by Joanna Badua

As I was watching Hawaii governor, Neil Abercrombie (don’t think he has anything to do with A&F) while giving his State of the State speech, I took notes.

What I found significant was his canoe imagery.  He thinks that we must restore government and rebuild the sense of Hawaii which he will guide the canoe to that direction.

However, he mentions a current $844 million deficit, due to a “severe operational debt..[in a ] battered, under resourced democracy.”  The canoe is sinking, and outlines his plans called “a New Day” which almost rings FDR’s New Deal tune.  Of course, this only means a larger spending spree and an increase in the gaping hole of debts we already have.

Sure he gives reasons as to why we should spend.  Status quo of the lagging of approval for business permits and lacking of informational services, as well as underfunded schools, inefficient furloughs and tourist sites and facilities that are not maintained, I agree, some need to be taken in consideration.

But what gave me a chill was his plan to spend more.  I had to say that his plan for sin tax (against alcohol, sodas and similar drinks) irritated me.  But what perplexed me was despite the growing debt, he wants to spend more without bringing in more first. Among other things:

  • He wants to transform Hawaii’ outdated information technology in all departments to make us “the envy of other states”
  • Ensure tourism – support timeshare business; reallocate funds from Hawaii Tourism Industry
  • Advancing culture in the arts
  • Provide long term thinking pension funds and unfunded runaway health cost for public servants
  • New Day work projects that directly attack unemployment, similar to FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps
  • UH system (Manoa, Kona) improvement
  • Department of Transportation transformation
  • Energy – transform from dependency on petroleum to new energy
  • Aloha Stadium – allocate funds to other projects

Okay, just to be fair, I would like to put include areas where he would cut resources:

  • Benefits for Medicaid patients – red flag for residential fosterhomes
  • Scale back social services where funding does not exist – contracts for temporary assistance for needy families.

He would also get utilize funds from the federal government, “bringing additional dollars and repositioning Hawaii to receive one hundred million for military area, veteran cemetery.”

All I got to say is, that’s an expensive canoe, made of gold that is owed not only by our generation, but of those to come.  Coming from a business point of view, if he’s seeing these expenditures as an investment to the state, he has to really prioritize, be thrift and make sure the results are visible.

What the state needs is not just investment on education, but investment on companies that will provide jobs – look at Tunisia.  And not just in the tourism industry.  It’s true that any government has to make difficult decisions because it can’t please everybody and that’s where each individual has to either fight real hard for the government to provide their needs or just go on through life mitigating government’s impacts in their business.  The latter’s a little harder, speaking from one whose family business can feel the repercussions of what he talked about today.  Just makes me more aware of what’s going on, that’s all.


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