A. Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, president, Hawaii State Senate
From the perspective of state government, these economic changes have both short-term and long-term effects. In the short term, decreases in tax revenues that result from slowing growth will make it imperative that we show fiscal restraint, and set clear priorities for government spending. We will see a growing need to balance spending on the safety nets that serve those in need, with investments in efforts to stabilize the economy. At the same time, we need to continue funding education, healthcare, and other programs that provide our residents with a good quality of life and confidence in our continued success.
For the longterm, the economy forces us to maintain the patience and discipline necessary to develop solutions for the years to come. In each of the areas vital to creating and maintaining a sustainable Hawaii, including energy independence, agricultural production, environmental preservation and education, we need to look beyond short-term rewards and instant gratification to the Hawaii we want for the next generation. That also means making a concerted effort toward inclusiveness and transparency for the general public, to encourage community involvement and continued confidence in our goals.