The fiscal cliff and financial issues that surround our nation are starting to really hit home. In some disturbing news, United States Senator Mazie Hirono warned us all of huge budget cuts, job losses and furloughs that may be heading to Hawaii as a result of the financial issues that our nation is facing.
This is some very disturbing news, as Hawaii has always been able to keep job losses at a minimum, even when the rest of the nation could not. It seems that Obama, Congress, and the rest of the powers that be are just unwilling and unable to come to some sort of long-term debt deal as of yet, and now Hawaii is going to feel it.
Hawaii Budget Cuts by the Numbers
*From the Star Advertiser
Hirono said 2,200 health care professionals in Hawaii could lose their jobs as a result of reduced Medicare payments, and 16,000 Hawaii students may be affected by cuts to education for Head Start, after-school care and grants for schools.
“Clearly, this is not the way to go,” Hirono said during a teleconference with reporters.
The Hawaii Democrat added that “we are working very hard on the Senate side to come up with an alternative that would prevent sequestration with a balanced approach” by looking at revenue sources to offset budget shortfalls rather than just make cuts.
“Let’s close some major tax loopholes to get us there,” Hirono said, echoing the Obama administration.
The president wants a second short-term delay in sequestration.
A total of $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts would have to be made by the federal government over the next seven months if Congress doesn’t act by March 1.
The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii said total spending by the armed services in Hawaii was $6.5 billion in 2009, resulting in direct and indirect impacts exceeding $12.2 billion to Hawaii’s economy, and accounting for more than 101,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in household earnings.
Hirono said many defense contracts in Hawaii would have to be “drastically or dramatically restructured or modified as a result of sequestration.”
“That’s where this (sequestration) is challenging for Hawaii, because we have so much dependence on federal government spending in Hawaii — it’s key. It’s not just defense construction spending, it’s federal spending at all levels. We get our disproportionate share in Hawaii,” said Bill Wilson, president of Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.
The Navy awarded Hawaiian Dredging a $52.4 million contract in 2011 for a large construction project at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
The project includes a new bachelor enlisted quarters, a command facility, and a multi-level parking structure, renovation of existing quarters, and demolition of five buildings.
“There’s uncertainty with every project,” Wilson said. “Everything has to be re-evaluated by the military because of what’s being discussed (with sequestration). The budget cuts are so severe, they’ve got to look at every job.”
According to Hirono, of approximately 11,000 jobs that could be lost, nearly 8,000 would be as a result of defense cuts, and 3,000 would come from other cuts in Hawaii.
This is something to really be worried about if you are a Hawaii resident. Hawaii is already the most expensive place in the nation to live (by average) and these types of budget cuts, job losses and furloughs would be absolutely devastating to the people in Hawaii. It will probably be more than we can handle, as this many job losses at once in Hawaii would be staggering to consider.
Lets hope a debt deal can get done, otherwise we are looking at a long, hard road ahead.