Carlisle Wants $1B Rainy Day Fund as Legacy

Dan Zelikman/Civil Beat

Nearly one year after Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle was elected, he says he's proudest of getting the city's finances in order. And he has big dreams for a billion-dollar rainy day fund to ensure the city's financial future.

But he's outspoken about "completely untenable" union contracts, an "absolutely horrifying" pension reality and "exorbitant" taxes on Honolulu citizens.

The mayor said on the campaign trail he'd clean up Honolulu's financial mess, and voters gave him that chance when they picked him in a special election to finish Mufi Hannemann's term a year ago this month.

While Carlisle acknowledged shortly after taking office that the city was in better financial shape than he expected, he says now that he took key steps to avert a budget crisis.

"For me, the biggest thing was to get the spending under control," Carlisle said Thursday in an editorial board meeting at Civil Beat headquarters. "Capital improvements projects budget, that's my big deal. And the fact that we ended up keeping our ratings, where it wasn't happening elsewhere was of real importance to us because if you don't understand debt service, then you are destined to poverty in old age."

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