Latest Articles

  • Hawaii Lawmakers Cautious Despite Rosier Economic Outlook

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Lower oil prices, a strong construction market and a thriving tourism industry prompted the Hawaii Council on Revenues to slightly upgrade its fiscal forecast for the state Thursday.

    The seven-member group of businessmen, accountants and economists voted to increase its forecast for the current fiscal year by 1 percent, which translates to roughly $55.7 million in additional general fund revenue.

    “The council is, overall, optimistic,” Chair Kurt Kawafuchi said after the meeting.

    Hawaii Council on Revenues Chair Kurt Kawafuchi, pictured here at the council’s January meeting, said Thursday that the council is optimistic about its revised fiscal forecast for the state.

    Cory Lum/Civil Beat

    The forecast was increased from 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent for 2015. The council kept its previous quarterly forecast of 5.5 percent for the next three years but dropped its projections a half percent for the three years thereafter.

    Hawaii lawmakers rely on the multi-year forecast in shaping the state budget for the coming biennium.

    The House Finance Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Luke, passed its version of the overall state budget Wednesday, trimming $226.6 million off Gov. David Ige’s proposed spending plan for the next two years. And the administration’s budget request was $300 million less than what departments sought.

    The House draft proposes spending $6.5 billion in general funds, $12.7 billion in all means of financing for fiscal 2016, which starts July 1. For 2017, the House draft calls for $6.8 billion in general funds, $13.1 billion

  • Tax Collections Lower Than Expected, But Governor Remains Positive

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants the public to remain optimistic about the economy despite tax revenues coming in lower than expected.

    The state Council on Revenues reported Thursday that tax collections were roughly $70 million, or minus 1.8 percent, lower than expected for the fiscal year ending June 30. But the council still expects at least 5 percent growth for each of the next five years.

    It’s that long-term forecast and the way the economy has grown over the past five years that has the administration feeling upbeat.

    Council on Revenues Chair Kurt Kawafuchi, March 12, 2014.

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    “While the fiscal year 2014 revenue collection is down 1.8 percent compared to fiscal year 2013, revenue growth over a five-year period from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2014 has been substantial – about 21.7 percent,” Finance Director Kalbert Young said in a statement. 

    Abercrombie has highlighted the state ending fiscal 2014 with a $664.8 million ending balance even after replenishing the Hurricane Relief Fund with $55.5 million and putting $100 million toward paying down the state’s unfunded liability for retiree health care benefits.

    “Hawaii’s economy is running at a sustainable level and regardless of short-term revenue cycles, we are focused on long-term fiscal stability,” Abercrombie said in a statement.

    He described the outcome of the council’s meeting as “another reason for us to remain optimistic about Hawaii’s strong and vibrant economy.”

    The state had been expecting a larger carryover balance though. In December, the administration’s multi-year financial plan

  • State Panel Projects No Revenue Growth for Hawaii in 2014

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Council on Revenues downgrades forecast, leaving lawmakers with almost $1 billion less than expected.

  • With Economy Improving, Council on Revenues Upgrades Forecast

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Higher projection creates cushion for Hawaii lawmakers finalizing budget plan.

  • Abercrombie’s Bigger Budget Still Doable With Lowered Revenue Forecast

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Budget director says still no need for new taxes for 2012-2013 budget years.

  • Council On Revenues Downgrades Hawaii Forecast

    · By Sanjeev Ranabhat

    UPDATED Some council members think the new 11 percent revenue growth projection is still too optimistic.

  • Can Legalized Gaming Fill Hawaii’s Budget Hole?

    · By Lowell Kalapa

    Gaming is not a tax, but it has tax implications: it will require additional public programs.

  • Hawaii Sees ‘Optimistic Financial Picture’ Ahead

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Deputy budget chief cites tax revenue growth, proceeds from billion-dollar bond sale.

  • New Tax Laws Boost Hawaii Revenue Forecast to 14.5%

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Hawaii Council on Revenues upgrades its revenue forecast for the state’s general fund.

  • Hawaii Tax Collections Could Best Forecast

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Last year’s delayed tax refunds still dragging down collections.

  • Abercrombie: Special Session Unlikely, Revenues Forecast Unchanged

    · By Nanea Kalani

    UPDATED 5 p.m. Council on Revenues keeps negative 1.6 percent revenue forecast.

  • Hawaii Lowers Revenue Forecast to -1.6 Percent

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Decision by Council on Revenues takes into account impact of Japan disasters.

  • Hawaii’s New Budget Deficit: $1.3 Billion

    · By Nanea Kalani

    State’s budget director takes “prudent” approach to budget, predicting negative 2 percent revenue growth.

  • Council on Revenues: Rosy Growth Rate A Red Herring

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Economists say growth prediction large due to last year’s delayed tax refunds.

  • Senate Money Chairman: Hawaii House Budget ‘No Longer Valid’

    · By Nanea Kalani

    Ways and Means chair says the budget has to be redone after Japan disaster.