Abercrombie’s budget strategy is on target

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is on the right track in ordering state departments to cover the remaining $50 million budget shortfall for 2012 by finding entire programs that can be eliminated instead of making across-the-board cuts.

Slashing across the board is a poor management practice that sidesteps any setting of priorities and bleeds every program equally without regard for its relative value to the state’s health and welfare.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle relied on this approach as state revenues plunged during the recession, and as a result, many of the most important state agencies are left without the resources to adequately fulfill their core functions.

Every program supported by the state has its constituency and terminating them can be painful, as with the administration’s recent decision to end state subsidies for Vanpools Hawai‘i.

This is a good program that gets cars off of our congested roads, but better to eliminate expenses like these that are toward the edges of the of the state’s primary responsibilities than to cut deeper than necessary into core functions such as education, public health and the social safety net.

As always, the devil is in the details and whatever programs state agencies target for elimination are going to make some people angry.

But the governor’s  insistence on setting clear priorities that preserve the most funding where it is most needed is a welcome step.

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5 Comments on “Abercrombie’s budget strategy is on target”

  1. cloudia Says:

    glad to hear something good about the Admin!

    And coming from you, Dave, it has credibility. I always learn something here, like about redistricting issues the other day.

    thanks!

  2. el guapo Says:

    The teachers are going to complain even more than the nurses did. I’m not saying that they are wrong to complain, just saying they are going to complain more about not being respected.

  3. Doug Says:

    So much for transparency in government…

    Just wait, these vertical cuts are going to be announced in their final form. The public will be given no account of which alternatives were presented to the Governor. The public will have no voice in this reduction process. Our cowardly legislators have simply punted this dirty work to the Governor. The authorizing language within the budget only emerged in the Conference Draft of HB 200; it was not in the original House or Senate Draft, nor was it in the Governor’s original draft (since Abercrombie never formally submitted “his” draft of a budget, but submitted Lingle’s placeholder bill).

    Abercrombie asked for mass resignations from Boards and Commissions and he was portrayed as a dictator. Now, when he is about to unilaterally exercise a new “power” (of dubious constitutionality) to cut the budget without ANY oversight, the people (often the same critics) cheer?

  4. Jim Loomis Says:

    Uh … let’s see … Lingle leaves office saying there will be a $100 million deficit. Neil is sworn in as governor, his people dig into the numbers and it turns out the deficit is actually a billion-plus … more than ten times what Lingle said it would be. And it’s Neil who’s catching the flak? And we wonder why good, honest, public- spirited people are reluctant to run for office!

  5. Doug Says:

    So, you’re saying Lingle forced the Lege to punt the decision of where to cut $50M to Abercrombie, Jim? That dog won’t hunt.


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