Abercrombie's Bigger Budget Still Doable With Lowered Revenue Forecast

Nanea Kalani/Civil Beat

The state's recently downgraded revenues forecast won't scrap Gov. Neil Abercrombie's financial plan for this year or next.

That's the assurance state Budget Director Kalbert Young gave lawmakers Monday at a budget briefing in the Capitol's auditorium.

The governor just three weeks ago had proposed a bigger operating budget for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year, promising no new tax hikes to pay for it.

Abercrombie's plan was based on a more optimistic forecast by the Council on Revenues, which last week lowered its projection to 11.5 percent growth from 14.5 percent.

Young told members of the House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees that the lower forecast of general fund revenues would put state finances in the red beginning in fiscal 2014. He said he feels the 2012-2013 biennium spending plan is "adequately proposed."

"Because the impact is really into a future biennium and not in the current, we can be a little more thoughtful and overall more strategic in terms of what options are available," he said. "The administration is actively developing and reviewing a comprehensive strategy to rebalance the financial plan."

Young said the updated plan would likely be ready in the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the legislative session convenes Jan. 18, when lawmakers will take their turn at crafting a fiscal 2013 budget.

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