Abercrombie sends up an SOS

Give Gov. Neil Abercrombie credit for the most optimistic way of delivering a gloomy message I’ve ever heard.

The top headline from his State of the State speech is that our canoe is in serious danger of capsizing, with an $800 million-plus state deficit, a government that can’t meet its core responsibilities, staggering debts for pensions and health care and public facilities in a disgraceful state of disrepair.

But he was so optimistic that we can meet all the challenges without kicking any cans down the road if we all work together that you were left really wanting to believe him.

The governor offered enough specifics to temporarily quiet criticism that his proposed budget won’t be ready until March. He wants to tax pensions and soda pop, eliminate the deduction for state taxes, reallocate funds for the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Aloha Stadium, scale back social services that have lost federal reimbursement, update the state’s Stone Age information technology and embark on a massive public works program to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure and advance priorities such as energy independence.

But it remains to be seen if it all adds up to a program that will plug current shortfalls while planting the seeds for future prosperity.

Abercrombie stressed again and again that he wants to work collaboratively with the Legislature, which is good, but it’s equally important that he be willing to call BS on lawmakers if the work doesn’t get done.

Central to his message is that we need to work in a spirit of shared sacrifice to right our canoe, and the key to that is projecting a sense that the sacrifices are being shared fairly among all segments of the community and all political interests.

He’s starting with his foot in a bit of a hole on that one after one of his first acts was to let his friends in the public worker unions off the hook for some $60 million a year in sacrifices on health insurance premiums — without extracting in exchange any of the concessions he’ll need to change the structure and priorities of state government.

In the end, the governor’s moves in allocating sacrifices will have to pass a nose test more than a rhetorical exam.

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13 Comments on “Abercrombie sends up an SOS”

  1. Michael Says:

    Quicksand.

    “Bureaucratic Standards”?
    I think to say, that Governor Abercrombie
    cannot bite the hand that feeds him.
    He cannot put his foot where it should belong.
    …—…

  2. Richard Gozinya Says:

    Lucky for me I drink Diet Coke. No link to obesity there so I am 100% sure that any soda tax would not apply to my beverage of choice. Right? Right?

  3. hipoli Says:

    Isn’t diet coke just as bad? Linked to fibromyalgia?

  4. Richard Gozinya Says:

    You’re thinking of Spam. Now, there’s a killer that imposes huge strains on our health care systems but do we tax it more? Nooooooooo.

    (thank God)

  5. Michael Says:

    Ask any Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic,
    that Soda is Soda. Even fruits can kill.

    “Laugh & the World Laughs with You; Cry & You Cry Alone.”

  6. hipoli Says:

    Nope, Im thinking of the aspartame in diet & the possible link to fibromyalgia. Google it.

    But taxing spam? That’s an idea that could fill our State’s coffers, indeed!

  7. shaftalley Says:

    establishment politicians like gov. abercrombie and the so called economic advisers that work for him should face the reality that the use of a gov’t.to do what they desire,what the public and pressure groups demand,is just not possible.the gov’t. can’t make us all wealthy.it can’t cure homelessness because it can’t provide universal housing,education,healthcare.it can’t raise wages across the board,if it tries to,we end up with more unemployment.it can tax the heck out of soda pop and spam,but it won’t ban them simply because they can’t. there is something wonderful in our society that is more powerful than government and it’s called economic law.economic law provides for personal liberty and freedom.and when nyou have a gov’t. try to abolish poverty here and try to make all its’ citizens “healthy” it usually backfires.

  8. Michael Says:

    This is why we Have Religions. To believe by some miracle something good will happen to us.
    I know my faith or fate.

  9. WooWoo Says:

    Abercrombie proposed a 5% pay cut for public workers… Will Perreira accuse him of negotiating through the media instead of at the bargaining table?

  10. zzzzzz Says:

    I read somewhere recently about a study that linked diet soda with weight gain.

  11. Richard Gozinya Says:

    And I read somewhere about a study that linked State of State speeches to hypertension.

  12. Lau Pan Says:

    We are in for a wonderful and exciting 4 year period!

    I am sooooo looking forward to see the outcome in 2014.

  13. Richard Gozinya Says:

    In the Navy of yore, a favorite breakfast item was creamed chipped beef on toast which garnered the name Sh&t on a Shingle or “SOS”.

    Every time I read Dave’s headline about Abercrombie serving up an SOS, I think he means Sh&t on a Shingle.

    That may be prophetic.


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