Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Thursday the state is on track toward economic recovery. A $306 million surplus in the last fiscal year could lead to more jobs in the state.
Severe cutbacks and the elimination of health and agriculture inspector jobs over the years led to some issues.
It left the state more vulnerable to invasive species like Coqui frogs on Oahu. But, the governor hopes the state can restore some much-needed jobs.
"We're going to see to it that personnel cuts made are going to be addressed and get those services back -- that's restoration," said Abercrombie.
To put the $306 million positive ending balance in perspective, the state also had a positive ending balance at the end of fiscal year 2011. But, that was only $126 million. When the governor took office in 2010, the state faced a a $200 million revenue shortfall.
"These numbers are real. No more playing accounting tricks," said Abercrombie. "When we give you these numbers, they're solid numbers."
Despite the positive economic outlook, state officials tempered the glowing forecast saying it would cost more than $300 million to restore all the programs it wishes to improve.
"We continue to have a solid sober and serious approach to financial management and it's paying off for us," said Abercrombie.
"The state is, by no means, in financial condition of where it was at its peak condition, and definitely not at a position where we have fully restored all what we would consider critical services of government," said Director of Finance Kalbert Young.
As for how the positive ending balance could affect collective bargaining negotiations in the future, Young was a little more ambiguous. He only says the state will have to make some decisions.
Recently, Moody's affirmed Hawaii's Aa2 rating of its obligation bonds. But, it also noted that Hawaii's large state and local government employment sector contributes to spending pressure for salary and benefit settlements.