May 05, 2015

Senator Hirono’s Top 10 Reasons The Republican Budget Hurts The Middle Class & Is Bad For Hawaii

Washington, DC – The Republican budget favors the wealthy and special interests on the backs of middle class families, seniors, and students in Hawaii and across the country. While Democrats continue to work for a middle class budget that would give hard-working families a fair shot at a better future by creating good paying jobs and creating new opportunities, Republicans continue to push a disastrous framework that would rig the rules in favor of billionaires and special interests.

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono released her top ten reasons why the Republican budget hurts the middle class and is bad for Hawaii ahead of the expected Senate vote on the budget this week:

 1.      The Republican budget would make it harder for Hawaii’s working families to get ahead and make it even harder for those striving to enter the middle class. An estimated 52,000 working families in Hawaii would pay $1,154 more in taxes because of cuts to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Additionally, 194,000 people in Hawaii who depend on food stamps would be at risk of losing nutrition assistance.

Senator Hirono meets with a Hawaii family

2.      Instead of closing special interest tax loopholes to make sure everyone pays their fair share, the GOP budget would weaken our economy and cost Hawaii jobs. It would pave the way for more tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations and tax hikes on middle-class Americans while gutting investments needed to grow the economy and killing jobs in the process. If the policies in the Republican Budget were to become law, about 10,000 jobs would be eliminated by 2017 because of reckless cuts to transportation, education, and other programs.

Senator Hirono with Hawaii construction workers

3.      The Republican budget rigs the rules in favor of special interests against the seniors in Hawaii who worked hard to earn Medicare benefits. 300,000 Hawaii seniors could be forced out of traditional Medicare and into a voucher program. For 24,100 Hawaii seniors that receive Medicare Part D benefits, prescription drug prices would go up an average of $1,090.

Senator Hirono with Hawaii residents at Kauai Veterans Day 

4.      The Republican budget puts billionaires ahead of Hawaii’s earliest learners  by cutting Head Start. Under the GOP budget, 120 fewer children would be enrolled in Head Start, a critical program which provides Hawaii’s youngest learners with quality care and establishes a foundation for success in school and life—meanwhile, the children of billionaires would gain an extra windfall because the Republican budget repeals policies like the estate tax.  

Senator Hirono with Kawaikini students

 5.      Instead of making the dream of a college education more affordable for Hawaii students, the Republican budget cuts Pell Grants. For over 40 years, the Pell Grant program has been foundational to putting higher education within reach for students from low-income backgrounds across the country but earning a college degree will be harder and more expensive for 22,000 students in Hawaii as more than $90 billion in Pell Grant funding is cut by the Republican budget over the next decade nationwide.


Senator Hirono with University of Hawaii students

6.      Under the Republican budget, support for students enrolled in Hawaii’s 20 Title I schools would be cut. Title I grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provide financial assistance to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families to help them meet educational performance standards. Under the Republican budget, Hawaii would lose $4.2 million in Title I education funding next year, which would deny academic assistance to as many as 10,900 children.

Senator Hirono meets with high school students visiting from Hawaii in Washington, DC

 7.      The Republican budget would cause 8,000 Hawaii workers to lose access to job training to prepare them to compete for 21st century jobs or job assistance to help them rejoin the workforce. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds are the primary source of workforce training and job search assistance funneled to the states. The Republican budget cuts off these resources when Hawaii needs more resources, not less, to keep up with the ever-changing global economy.


Senator Hirono meets with members of Hawaii’s agricultural industry on Oahu

 8.      Irresponsible cuts in the Republican budget would hurt Hawaii’s National Parks, which are among Hawaii’s top tourist destinations. Hawaii’s National Parks provide a critically important venue for folks to explore the beautiful and unique ecosystems in Hawaii. Under the Republican budget, planned construction and maintenance at Haleakala National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument would be delayed or canceled.  

Senator Hirono with members of the National Park Service at Pearl Harbor

9.      While Hawaii is focused on building a clean energy future, the Republican budget cuts the agencies charged with protecting our air and water. The budget would require drastic cuts that would hurt the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the Department of Energy, and other agencies to protect our health with clean air and clean water, preserve natural areas for future generations, and help Hawaii develop clean sources of energy.


Senator Hirono tours the Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies 

10.  The Republican budget would rig the rules in favor of special interests by repealing the Affordable Care Act. If Republicans have their way and repeal the Affordable Care Act, approximately 13,000 Hawaii residents would lose health coverage next year. 

Senator Hirono at a health care reform discussion in Hilo