HONOLULU, July 23, 2013 – In response to Standard & Poor’s recent assessment that the state of Hawaii had taken “actions as having favorable implications for the state’s credit picture” Governor Neil Abercrombie released the following statement in an official press release:
“It is encouraging to hear that one of the major agencies that rates Hawaii’s credit has spoken so positively of our administration’s efforts and our state’s achievements to build and improve our financial structure. Our most significant objectives have been to build financial reserves, deal with long-term unfunded liabilities, and instill sound financial management.
“Standard & Poor’s favorable comments acknowledge Hawaii as a leader amongst states in dealing with our financial health. Upon taking office, this administration recognized what needed to be done to restore financial confidence in our state, our financial management, and our economic well-being. We have made hard decisions that have begun to put Hawaii on the right path to better financial surety.
“Standard & Poor’s is the first rating agency to publicly recognize the significance of our state’s efforts and milestone legislation that will set the groundwork for future Legislatures and government leaders in Hawaii to deal with a growing burden that, if left unaddressed, will critically cripple the future financial viability of government to provide public services. Recent events nationally illustrate how significant Hawaii’s movement to deal with its liabilities is setting Hawaii apart from other jurisdictions. The message is clear: Hawaii takes its financial obligations seriously.”
The Standard & Poor’s report on Hawaii notes “For the current biennium, the state’s economic climate and rising revenue trajectory help accomodate the efforts at both fiscal consolidation and program expansion … A key to the state’s future credit trajectory likely hinges on its ability to follow through on its OPEB funding measures when revenue growth ebbs lower. In our view, building up its budgetary reserves now helps enhance the future fiscal flexibility and better positions it to weather an economic slowdown should one occur.”
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