Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


What’s Your Bank Account Balance? by grassroothawaii
March 1, 2011, 5:06 pm
Filed under: Economy, Limited Government | Tags: , ,

by Frances Nuar

I’m guessing most of you know how much is in your bank account. As in, you know if you’ve got a nice safety net because you are careful to save something each paycheck, or you know you better not spend another dollar until that next paycheck comes in because you spend every dollar (and more?) that you earn, barely eking out an existence paycheck to paycheck. Or maybe you don’t want to be the victim of identity theft, so you check your bank balance often to make sure all transactions have been instigated (or at least approved) by you. Or maybe you don’t have unlimited income or a personal ATM so you watch what you spend. Whatever the case, you know what’s going on in your bank account. And good for you, as well you should.

A few weeks ago we were talking about the need for fiscal notes–price tags–on legislation in Hawaii . Government accountability to the taxpayers is a duty our officials owe us as our leaders. Here’s some news in accountability: evidently our government has implemented hundreds of “special funds”, funded by our tax dollars, for all sorts of pet projects. But here’s the kicker–no one, no one has any idea how much is in these funds– no one is held accountable for their expenditures! Today the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a bill to repeal 18 special funds and deposit the monies into the general fund, as well as take “unspecified amounts from 25 others…Lawmakers originally sought in SB 120 to raid all 138 special funds, arguing there should be legislative oversight of what should be considered taxpayer money.”

You think? You think it’s important that someone with authority have oversight of where your tax dollars are being spent? Yes please! Ways and Means chairman Sen. David Ige asked the many dissenters of the bill, all of which benefit in some way from the special funds, how much money they were actually talking about–95% of them didn’t know how much money was in their own special funds. They aren’t counted into the general operating budget of the State. In fact, according to a report published by Grassroot Institute last year,

“Some 186 special funds spread across twenty different departments hold an estimated $1,412,357,203 in unspent revenues over and above their operational requirements

That’s $1.4 billion in special funds. Alot of money to not have a clue about. Great job to the Ways and Means Committee in starting the project here, but a full repeal of all special funds ought to be in full order. I mean, when’s the last time you forgot about $1.4 billion in your bank account?

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Here’s even more interesting info from the 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (http://hawaii.gov/dags/accounting-division/soh-cafr-06302009.pdf – page 20). Note that 32.1% of the State’s revenue in fiscal 2009 came from grants and contributions (including federal aid). You might consider that since the federal deficit was over $1 trillion in 2009 that all of that “federal aid” contributed to raising the national debt.

“The State’s net assets decreased by $1.9 billion, or 22.5%, during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009. Approximately 56.0% of the State’s total revenues came from taxes, while 32.1% resulted from grants and contributions (including federal aid). Charges for various goods and services provided 12.4% of the total revenues. The State’s expenses cover a range of services. The largest expenses were for higher and lower education, welfare, health, and general government.”

The reality is that our State government is completely dependent upon the federal government, otherwise it would collapse. And the federal government is not simply sending Hawaii tax dollars back to Hawaii, but actually borrowing more money to prop up State governments around the United States.

Comment by Mike Higgins




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