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Author Topic: Gov. Linda Lingle, 1/30/2009 "we can’t afford business as usual"  (Read 1022 times)
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« on: February 02, 2009, 08:03:05 AM »

A common sense approach - "because we can’t afford business as usual"

Digging Hawaii Out of This Recession

By Gov. Linda Lingle, 1/30/2009 12:20:45 PM

This is taken from Gov. Linda Lingle's 2009 State of the State address.

Today’s struggling economy has created a deep hole in our budget that we need to dig out of this session.

The Council on Revenues has never in its history lowered its projections by so much in such a short period of time.

Over the past eight months, the Council has reduced its general fund revenue projection by $1.4 billion.

This downward projection reflects an unprecedented decline in tourism, construction, business activity, and consumer demand brought about by national and international events beyond our control.

These events – including sub-prime lending, frozen credit markets and volatile oil and other commodity prices – will impact us for at least the next couple of years.

Climbing our way out of this hole won’t be easy.

It won’t be quick.

It won’t be without pain; but it will be done.

The pain that will be felt by individuals and organizations both in and out of government will cause some to search for a specific reason or person to blame.

When a recently retired couple watches the value of its 401K drop dramatically…or a family struggles to make the mortgage payment now that their work hours have been cut back…or a social service agency faces the need to lay off employees because the government reduces the purchase of a service contract they were counting on…it is natural to want to understand why this is happening, and to hold someone accountable.

But we must refrain from playing the blame game because we know this downturn was not caused by any of us.

And we know we had been making good decisions in recent years to create a brighter future for Hawai‘i’s people by lowering taxes, increasing science and math education, moving toward energy independence, and preserving more of our natural and cultural resources.

We also know that we are all in this together, and it is only by sticking together that we will be able to deal effectively with the immediate fiscal crisis and strengthen our economy in the long run.

We will need a mixture of courage, compassion, and collaboration to cope with the unprecedented budget gap we face.

Collaboration doesn’t mean we will see all issues the same way, it means that for the sake of Hawai‘i’s future, we must acknowledge our predicament and find an acceptable way to move ourselves forward.

In order to do this, we must start by accepting the fact that in this new economic and fiscal environment, there is simply no possible way to continue operating and spending the way we have.

Although I am extremely optimistic about Hawai‘i’s long-term prospects, I am not going to sugarcoat the immediate challenge we face.

In order to maintain the public’s confidence and trust, we must be open and honest about the nature and magnitude of what we are facing.

The reality is that we will have to make some unpopular choices that will reduce some services and cause others to be delivered in a different way.

Not because we want to, but because we can’t afford business as usual.

A number of projects will likely be delayed, curtailed, or possibly eliminated.

Not because we want to, but because we can’t afford business as usual.

We will have to ask government employees, like those who work in the private sector, to accept some reduction in wages and benefits.

Not because we want to, but because we can’t afford business as usual.

Some who currently enjoy special tax credits, exemptions and deductions will see them reduced or eliminated.

Not because we want to, but because we can’t afford business as usual.

This is a time of shared sacrifice when everyone must be willing to give up something.

This is a time when we must rely on each other, because no one is coming to rescue us.

We must also keep in mind that the economy will likely continue to soften in the near-term, perhaps causing the Council on Revenues to further reduce projections at its March meeting and then again in May after the budget is adopted.

We are not alone in facing this new reality and near-term uncertainty.

Families and businesses across the country and throughout our state have had to come to terms with this same situation.

But we should also recognize that the difficulty we face is temporary.

Our nation will regain its economic footing, and so will Hawai‘i.

How fast we recover here at home will depend to some degree on the decisions we make during this session.

Our solutions need to be decisive enough to address our immediate situation, but just as important, must prepare the way for our future.

Short-term solutions that merely defer the hard choices to those who will follow us are just as bad as no solutions at all.

We can’t meet our responsibility by kicking the can down the road.

We must make meaningful choices now that address the reality we face today while laying the foundation for a better future.

That better future is one that transitions us from an economy over-reliant on land development to one that is innovation-driven and relies on the capacity of our people.

I have often wondered, from which mighty oak does the acorn of Obama fall?

The common sense people of Hawaii?  "we can’t afford business as usual."

Midwestern values?  Frugality?

Can the nation  "afford business as usual" - spending, spending, spending?

Why kick the can down the road to our children and grandchildren?  Why not start by making the hard decisions today?

Instead of spending and increasing debt, why not cut spending and taxes?

Make one dollar do the work of two or three dollars?



All my posts are just my humble opinions.  Please take with a grain of salt.  Smile

It doesn't do any good to hate anyone,
they'll end up in your family anyway...
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