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ThinkTech Hawaii: Another Rainy Day Slush Fund (Talking Tax)

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Hawai’i Hurricane Relief. The hosts for this show are Jay Fidell and Tom Yamachika.

Many of us in Hawai’i are aware that we have an Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund, enshrined in chapter 328L, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to save money for a ‘rainy day’–that is to say, an emergency. In the most recent legislative session, the state budget bill provides for an additional one billion dollars to be socked away into that fund, $500 million a year. But, as it turns out, that’s not the only ‘reserve fund’ we have.

As the Department of Budget and Finance kindly explains on its website, we have the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund (HHRF). This fund was set up in 1993 to provide hurricane insurance coverage for property owners here in Hawai’i Nei in case the private insurance market proved unreliable. This was thought to be a good idea when Hurricane Iniki whacked us in 1992.

In the years since Iniki, however, private insurers returned to the market. The HHRF shut down in 2002. But we still, to this day, have $186.7 million in the fund.

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