Hawaii Financial Picture Sunnier but Some Storms Ahead

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said  in a recent press conference the state has a second quarter ending cash balance of $300 million, and as a result, his administration can restore some cuts to state personnel made a couple of years ago under former Gov. Linda Lingle.

Abercrombie attributed two thirds of the positive cash balance to strong fiscal management, and the other third to a strengthening economy.

But remember – Hawaii was just named one of the top 5 sinkhole states in the nation.

That’s because Hawaii still has $21 billion in unfunded liabilities including the state retirement system and healthcare debts.

In addition, the state still has not refunded the Hurricane and Rainy Day funds that were raided in 2011 to balance the state budget.

If the monies had been refunded, the state would have less than $200 million.

While Budget Director Kalbert Young said the $300 million positive cash balance is good news, he said the state still has to tackle it’s the $21 billion of outstanding liabilities.

See the full video recording of the press conference here

Presidential campaign features local writer Danny de Gracia

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson prominently featured Oahu writer and frequent Hawaii Reporter contributor Danny de Gracia on his website this week. de Gracia called for TV networks to consider promoting a three-way debate between President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson as a way to stir up voter interest in the November election.
Honoring Milton Friedman at Centennial Dinner

On Tuesday, July 31st, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii will be hold a dinner in celebration of the legacy of Milton Friedman.

The dinner will be at Sunset Lanai at Camp Smith. This event requires prior paid registration.

For more information and to register, go to the event website, located here or call Grassroot Institute at 591-9193.

The keynote speaker is Lisa Snell, the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine,  School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children’s Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.

According to the Friedman web site, Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was an American Nobel Laureate economist and public intellectual who did much of his work at the University of Chicago. He is best known as a scholar and advocate of the idea of the free market. Friedman was instrumental in the elimination of the military draft in the United States, and formed a foundation with his wife to make high-quality education available to all children.

Friedman,  who won the Nobel Prize “for his achievements in the fields of consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and for his demonstration of the complexity of stabilization policy, and was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, famously said: “One of the reasons why I’m in favor of less government, is because when you have more government, industrialists take it over.”

Friedman’s work influenced policies of many countries, including Estonia, Chile, Iceland, China, and of course, the United States.

Other facts from his web site

  • Headed the committee that lead to the elimination of the draft.
  • Ardently against monopolies, in particular government-subsidized or run monopolies.
  •  Advocated a negative income tax to replace the broken welfare system.
  • Called for public discussion on the benefits of legalizing marijuana.
  • Argued that economic freedoms and rights lead to greater general and political freedom in a society.
  • Key to developing technology for anti-aircraft projectiles that prevented bombs from going off inadvertently.
  • Two of his most famous contributions to statistics are sequential sampling and the Friedman Test.

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards. Hawaii Reporter has a weekly television news show, News Behind the News, which airs on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.