Hawaii Gov. Proposes Bigger Budget For Next Year — With No Tax Hikes

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

No new taxes next year.

That's the message from Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state's budget chief Kalbert Young.

With an aggressive tax revenue forecast in hand, Abercrombie has proposed adding $189 million to next year's existing $10.9 billion operating budget. The governor made clear at a news conference Monday afternoon that no tax hikes would be needed to pay for the added costs.

The spending increase includes nearly $120 million in additional expenses to the general fund, bringing the entire budget from all revenue sources to $11.1 billion for the year that begins July 1, 2012.

"This budget represents a very rational and reasonable budget submission that is accountable to balance without the need for additional tax revenues being proposed," Young said.

The mood of the announcement was in stark contrast to last December, when the Abercrombie administration had to come up with a financial plan to address a forecasted $843 million shortfall for the following two fiscal years. That deficit later ballooned to $1.3 billion.

The plan introduced Monday is based on the most recent Council on Revenues forecast of 14.5 percent general fund growth. It will serve as the starting point for lawmakers when the Legislature convenes Jan. 18.

"We are in an excellent position today to move forward in this legislative session to deal with the policy issues that are before us, but to deal with it from a sense of confidence and security with regard to the fiscal foundation of the state," Abercrombie said.

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