Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday repeated his promise to replenish the state’s rainy day and hurricane relief funds, which he drained to get through the last fiscal year.
Some lawmakers have talked about possibly rebranding the hurricane relief fund, a pool of money that has functioned as a cash reserve in the past decade since the state’s hurricane insurance program for homeowners ended.
Insurance commissions have advised that lawmakers keep about $70 million in the fund to help the state purchase reinsurance in the event private insurers flee after another hurricane, like they did after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. But the roughly $180 million that had been left over in the fund the past decade — and was tapped to help end teacher furloughs on classroom instruction days and balance the budget — was meant to be transferred to the general fund.
Credit-rating agencies that judge the state’s finances consider cash reserves like the hurricane relief fund an important safety net.
Kalbert Young, the state’s budget director, said the name of the fund is not significant. He said the administration wants to replenish the money to help maintain a healthy cash reserve.