For two days in a row last week, The Maui News featured stories about state Finance Director Kalbert Young's warnings of the impact of an "Inouye Cliff" facing Hawaii.
The cliff is the result of the death of our vastly influential U.S. senator, Daniel Inouye. His position as head of the Senate Appropriations Committee steered countless millions of dollars to the state. His almost 50 years of seniority placed him on other important committees and assured that Hawaii was always top of mind in deliberations in the Senate.
At swearing-in ceremonies for the new Maui County Council Wednesday, Young emphasized that there must be close collaboration between state and county governments to make sure there is no disruption in services.
In short, Young was saying that with the possibility of less money, the county and state must develop methods to deliver services in the most cost-efficient way. New Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui's role as Neighbor Island liaison should aid in that cooperation.
On Thursday, Young told a joint committee meeting at the state Capitol that Inouye's death would be "immeasurable" for Hawaii's economy. Young said that nearly one-fifth of the state's expenses are currently paid by federal funds. The loss of Inouye could affect the state for several years.
We would applaud Young's forthrightness on both occasions. The state needs to be cautious on new initiatives while it assesses what happens to federal revenues. The call for close collaboration between state and county to assure efficiency is smart and welcome.
We would repeat what we wrote a couple of weeks ago, though. With our congressional delegation's lack of seniority, the members need to press very hard to forge working relationships. Even though Sen. Inouye is gone, Hawaii remains a very important piece of the country's defense picture.
Our representatives need to constantly remind their colleagues of that fact.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.