Lingle says economy slowing but growing
Hawaii's economy has slowed but is still strong, Gov. Linda Lingle says.
In a speech yesterday to accept an award as the Sales and Marketing Executives' salesperson of the year, Lingle said Hawaii's economy is growing.
"We practiced fiscal discipline when others were willing to spend everything they had," Lingle said.
Lingle cautioned that it was not time to drop all spending increases.
"This is not a time to hunker down and not spend anything," Lingle said.
For instance, Lingle is asking the Legislature to approve an $800 million multiyear state harbor improvements plan.
Investing in construction projects for the state's harbors, schools and airports is needed, Lingle said.
"These will set us up for future growth, and they fuel the economy," Lingle said.
She also pledged that with two years left in her final term as governor, she would not end with a deficit.
"I am not going to leave our state budget in the condition I found it when I took office in 2002," Lingle said, adding that the budget was showing a $250,000 deficit.
Lawmakers watching the state economy have already cut $67 million from Lingle's budget proposal.
"Reductions to the budget still need to be made," the House Finance Committee said in a report on the state budget bill, House Bill 2500.
Noting that Lingle proposed both spending increases and tax reductions last year, the committee report said the state would have been in trouble if the committee followed her financial plan.
"Had the Legislature followed the governor's spending plan, Hawaii would now be facing a $784 million shortfall," the committee report stated.