Hawaii Legislature Needs to Create More Efficient Government-Four ideas that will save taxpayers $555.5 million over the current 6 year financial plan

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‘House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan presented this speech on the House’s version of the $10 billion state budget on the Chamber floor on Monday, March 8, 2010’.

Mr. Speaker,


I rise with reservation on HB 2200 HD1. The people of Hawaii are looking to us to create an efficient government, define core services, and do everything possible to live within our means. Although I will be supporting this budget, I have reservations as I think we have not done a good enough job at accomplishing the goals that I stated.

All members of this body are aware of the significant budget predicament that Hawaii currently finds itself in. No one disagrees on this point. Mr. Speaker, where the members of this body disagree is their belief of how to best weather this storm. When it comes down to it we really have to ask ourselves whether we’re willing to take the appropriate actions necessary by asking tough questions. In short, the Administration has taken steps to reinvent government versus temporarily tinker with it.

As members of the Executive Branch, each Department Director performed their executive branch responsibility by reviewing its own strengths and weaknesses, eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies, and making needed adjustments.

Indeed, the Administration performed a programmatic analysis of its own operations, taking into account the resulting impact on services of lay-offs. In the Legislature’s attempts to undo the Administration’s efforts to become more efficient and reinvent government, we’ve reversed some of their work because of philosophical disagreements or some think partisan jockeying.

Case in point, this measure restores 1,012 positions in spite of the reality that labor costs contribute to 70% of the State’s budget. Most of these positions are not funded, but their restoration implies their future potential to be filled. This means that despite the needs that come around when times get better, the Legislature is giving the signal to fill positions from an old plan. This is not reinventing government. Now is the time to really reinvent and reform government versus temporarily tinkering with it to achieve the fa