April 6, 2010; The Maui News | This article details the considerations of the Maui County Council as it looks hard at the many variables of its budget and the budgets of Maui safety net organizations. Both are somewhat at the mercy of the state as Hawaii, which constitutionally requires a balanced budget, tries to manage a $1.2 billion deficit. All county funded nonprofits are expecting to take a hit and some have already been zeroed out because they do not address “bare essentials.”

Mayor Charmaine Tavares says she understands that service providers may take a “double hit” through cuts from the county and the state but the county itself may also take a hit from the state. While Maui County is currently trying to balance the budget with a projected $56 million shortfall, “Tavares has also warned that the county’s budget woes for the fiscal year starting July 1 could get a lot worse in the next few weeks.

The shortfall figure could grow by millions if the state Legislature decides to take the county’s share of hotel taxes, or the transient accommodations tax. Nonprofit executives are being asked to show up to the hearing today (Wednesday) with their grant requests, and financial statements—and they must come prepared to share the salaries of their directors.

On another note, it is good to see that the nonprofits on Maui have a good measure of organization through the Maui Nonprofit Director’s Association, which represents 80 organizations on that island. Keep us posted!—Ruth McCambridge