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Council on Revenues General Fund Forecast: $250M Cut

The Council on Revenues lowered its General Fund Forecast yesterday.  The Council’s forecast is the basis for the Governor’s and Legislature’s budgets.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

The Council on Revenues lowered its General Fund forecast one-half a percentage point for the remainder of the current fiscal year ending in June.  It also lowered projections over the next two fiscal years.  Chair, Kurt Kawafuchi, says the growth in the economy is slowing.

“The forecast for the current year is 2.5 percent and for the following year we dropped it from 5 percent to 4 percent.  The further out we go, the less confident we are about the estimate.  And I think it’s just kind of like tourism, I think, there was record spending, right?  But, you know, like construction – the permits are down.  We believe, overall, that we had a good run with the economic cycle and it doesn’t go on forever.  That’s kinda the consensus.”

Meanwhile, Senate Ways and Means Committee chair, Jill Tokuda, says the half-a-percentage decrease this year and lower General Fund projections over the next two years will be significant.

“They did come back to us lowering fiscal ’17 as well as ’18 and ’19, so obviously that doesn’t look good as we head into the creation of the senate budget.  Taking a look at the estimates, we’re gonna have just over 250 million dollars less for the biennium that we will have to account for.  That does not look good as we consider a lot of the big cost items, whether it be increased contributions for ERS; whether it be collective bargaining; all of these different things.  And now we have over 250 million dollars less.”

The next Council on Revenues general fund forecast is scheduled for May 30th.  Wayne Yoshioka, HPR news.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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