Oppose SB120

SB120 is huge and has many aspects, but basically it wants to repeal certain special funds and transfer balances to the state general fund.

In its wisdom, the State Legislature recognized that certain long range activities such as invasive species control, irrigation water projects, State Park maintenance, Natural protection and management and many others programs need a core base of funding.

A good example is the work of the Invasive Species Committee on each island.  They are the emergency response team that controls incipient infestations of potentially catastrophic critters: harmful insects like the coffee weevil recently introduce in Kona, nuisances like the coqui, the little frog with a load voice that keeps locals and tourists alike awake at night and miconia, the invasive tree that can destroy our watersheds if not controlled.

In the instance of Miconia, The adult trees have been eliminated, but follow up will be required for years to control the keikis.  It takes 3 years for Miconia seedling to start producing seed.  If those seedlings are not remove before they seed a decade of work is wasted.  This scenario plays out over and over for many different projects.

We urge you to not use a broad brush, but look carefully at the purpose and value of each of the special funds you are proposing to eliminate. Will the projects eliminated by these cuts result in wasting decades of effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars already expended?  Will termination of a special fund  make it impossible for technologies which are just reaching fruition to get the capital funding they need to implement innovative technologies?  Will cutting programs put more families in tents exacerbating our serious homeless problem?

Please look at the value of projects funded by special funds. Evaluate what will be lost if a project is terminated.  Understand the impacts on fledgling industries with the potential to make Hawaii the world leader in alternate energy, aquaculture, mariculture and software development.  Recognize that when state support is removed from a project the economic uncertainty caused by that action makes securing venture capital more difficult and in many cases impossible.

Yes, close special funds if after careful consideration you decide there mission is no longer valuable, but do not destroy years of effort and allow the devastation that will result from terminating programs that protect which are necessary to protect our islands and our people and don’t cut the foundation from under promising technology that has the potential to make Hawaii the world leader in new technologies.

SB120 will effectively shut down many DOFAW programs and make it impossible for the state to match Federal funds. Gov Abercrombie has stated that he wants to aggressively go after matching federal funding.  Many of these special fund projects where set up so that matching funds would be available to fund matching grants.

SB120 goes way too far. It would eliminate most of the special funds that support the state’s environmental programs, like the Natural Area Reserve fund (funding all of the state’s conservation work), the Energy Security special fund (funding the state’s renewable energy efforts) and the Food Security fund (money from the barrel tax designed to encourage local food production)

A short list of important special funds that would be cut include:

  • Hawaii historic preservation special fund,
  • Aquaculture development special fund,
  • Agricultural park special fund,
  • Irrigation water development special fund,
  • Beach restoration special fund,
  • State parks special fund,
  • Natural area reserve fund,
  • Forest stewardship fund,
  • Energy security special fund,
  • Public utilities commission special fund,
  • Energy systems development special fund,
  • Sanitation and environmental health special fund,
  • Clean air special fund

In particular, the State’s Natural Area Reserve Fund, which is the funding stream that provides monies to numerous Division of Forestry & Wildlife Programs & operations such as:  Forest Stewardship, Natural Area Reserves, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Watershed Partnerships, Youth Conservation Corps, Invasive Species Committees and many more.  This would certainly impact Federal programs such as Forest Legacy, Urban & Community Forestry, Forest Health, Invasive Plant Management, and numerous Department of Interior Fish & Wildlife programs.
In summary, special funds were set up to fund programs that must have a stable source of funding in order to be a variable program.  Do not kill programs that are vital to the future of Hawaii. Do not waste years of effort by canceling programs prematurely. Support technology that is import to the future of our state.

One response to “Oppose SB120

  1. I submitted testimony today opposing this SB120.

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