In Wahiawa

March 23rd, 2011

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he would support diverting general-excise tax money collected for the Honolulu rail project to help with new state projects, but not to close the state’s budget deficit.

The state Senate has passed a bill to swap the rail money for general-obligation bonds to help with the deficit, but Senate leaders are not optimistic about the bill’s chances given opposition from the city.

Abercrombie was asked about the rail money during a question-and-answer session with residents Tuesday night at a town hall meeting at Wahiawa District Park hosted by state Rep. Marcus Oshiro, (D, Wahiawa), the chairman of the House Finance Committee.

“Obviously a remark planted by the state Senate,” the governor joked to Oshiro, drawing laughter from the audience.

Abercrombie said, given the state’s budget challenge, he does not think it is justified to keep the rail money in the bank. He said he would not use it to cover operating expenses, but would consider it for public works projects with “social utility.”

Some people say `No, no. We’ve already obligated that money.’ Excuse me, you know, to tell me that, you know, two years from now or three years from now maybe we’re going to send a whole bunch of money out of the state to Italy to buy rail cars is not … obligating the money.

The money is sitting there. This is all abstract right now. It’s all photos and photo-ops right now. I’ve seen those before.

Abercrombie was his usual unscripted self at the homestyle event – hosted with the help of Oshiro’s wife, mother and staff, with plenty of food – animating his answers with stories and humor.

The governor repeated his support for Hawaii joining a multi-state lottery to help raise money for education. He suggested that Hawaii could offer prizes that are more than jackpots, such as free vacations.

Hawaii is iconic. You say `Hawaii’ and it puts a smile on people’s faces. And so if we could participate in one of those mega-lotteries, and we could carve out some Hawaii specific prizes from it, I’d bet we’d do pretty good.

Now, I don’t know that for a fact. But I’m willing to explore it.

The governor also backed a concept, pending in bills before state lawmakers, to sell under-used public school land for workforce housing or other purposes. He even managed to get in a dig at billionaire and potential GOP presidential contender Donald Trump, who has an upscale project in Waikiki.

Yeah, Donald Trump, right? So Trump comes into Waikiki when he’s not trying to find Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

And he builds this big tower. I hope some of the people who live there – I’m very happy for them, lovely view, and all the rest of it. I’ll tell you one thing: Everybody who built that tower, not one of them was able to afford an apartment in it.

Every single person who worked on that tower from Hawaii didn’t have the money to either invest in it or be able to buy and live in it.

So we need workforce housing.

3 Responses to “In Wahiawa”

  1. Chicken Grease:

    I dunno whether to be grateful to have seen the forbidden fruits, of this Q&A, that revealed our gov’nor’s apparent Id (or further revealed it) or to advocate leaving the Dr. alone while he’s eating and partying.

    In short, I hope Carlisle rises up and similarly exposes more shine on the Dr’s very bald display. The money. Is. There. For. Rail. Supposed to be untouchable and the mayor who was, er, now, what was he before he became mayo . . . oh, YEAH, he was THE City Prosecutor. OK, OK, soooooooo, maybe he can find some edict that says NONE can touch the rail money set aside FOR rail OTHER THAN for rail. The end.

    I swear. This “mis-speaking” (you just KNOW that’s gonna end up as the excuse by, oh, I dunno, end of day tomorrow for the gube’s Wahiawa comments?), I dunno, it’s getting embarrassing.

    Rail money IS NOT JUST SITTING THERE to be raided. And if an Italiano firm can do quality and on the cheap (and if Rail, admittedly can keep its own promise to hire locals here in the process), I say a-eh, cupunaaare and welcome and aloha pezzonovante!!!!!

    Hope The Grease has cause to vote Abercrombie for 2nd term.

  2. Manoa Kahuna:

    Thanks for the report. I wanted to go but couldn’t. So, I appreciate the news.

  3. Walking Vaughn:

    Blabbercrombie still on that Birfer kick, eh…

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