State House Republicans released their version of the budget today, which avoids major new tax increases to close a $1.3 billion deficit.
Instead, minority Republicans urge Gov. Neil Abercrombie to delay state income tax refunds and borrow from the state’s hurricane relief fund to get through the fiscal year that ends in June. Republicans would find a way to replace the money from the hurricane relief fund in fiscal year 2013.
Kalbert Young, the state’s budget director, has said that delaying tax refunds might be an option if the deficit gets worse. For now, though, the Abercrombie administration is paying out tax refunds.
The Abercrombie administration wants the discretion to use all of the state’s hurricane relief fund to close the deficit this fiscal year.
Over the two-year budget cycle, House Republicans want Abercrombie to negotiate for two furlough days a month for state workers, institute a partial hiring freeze, and allow attrition to reduce labor costs.
The Abercrombie administration has talked about 5 percent labor savings, the equivalent of one furlough day a month for state workers.
Some of the other House Republican ideas:
*Sell state-owned lands.
*Restructure and potentially privatize state hospitals.
*Delay paying film tax credits.
*Delay state income tax deductions for higher-income taxpayers.
*Restrict appropriations to the University of Hawaii by 1 percent.
“We want to present every idea possible,” said state Rep. Kymberly Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point).
Republicans invite people to do their own budget math by going to www.HawaiiStatebudgetOnLine.com.