Debt and Deficits

Hawaii Faces $25B in Unfunded Liabilities

Time to dig through the sofa cushions


HONOLULU – Hawaii lawmakers took modest steps to address the state's record $25-billion in unfunded liabilities during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions.

But taxpayer watchdogs are critical that not enough is being done to address looming debts and are concerned that overly generous benefits promised to thousands of public employees in influential public labor unions could eventually bankrupt the state.

"We cannot drain the public purse to provide benefits for public employees that no one else has," said Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.