I have spent most of my adult life in three professions: as a nurse, I cared for the physical health and well being of my patients; as a lawmaker, I authored bills that became laws to help improve the lives and well being of our people; as a banker, it was my job to help clients on the road to financial stability. There are many things that separate these three professions, but I have learned that at the core of each is a shared goal—a shared responsibility. That responsibility becomes extremely important when dealing with unstable situations.
The first thing we must do is to stabilize the situation. Then, we need to find the root cause and address it. Finally, we must develop a long-term plan and set goals to prevent but also prepare for any potential instability in the future. Since becoming Governor, I understand now more than ever that my experiences are helping me restore our government and prepare us for a compassionate, fair, safe, and prosperous future.
Just before taking office in January, the Lieutenant Governor and I received a transition briefing on what we could expect of the government that we would soon lead. It was clear at that time, and even clearer after taking our oaths of office, that the responsibility of changing our island for the better required immediate action.
I learned from my experiences that to increase your chances of success, you need a proper plan. For our government, we needed to establish stability, make an assessment of what was setting us back and address it, and finally, have a long-term plan of realistic and achievable goals.
This is what Josh and I are working on. Among the many issues that need attention is strengthening our government’s finances. It’s a difficult task but we put together a competent and experienced Fiscal Discipline team to get the work done. And we will continue to work hard so we can reduce our deficit, resolve our debt, fix our hospital and our schools, build more parks, upgrade our technology, hire more public safety officers, build affordable homes, and pay our people what they are worth.
The Department of Revenue and Taxation is key to our financial strength. Under the leadership of Director Dafne Shimizu, we are not just increasing collections, we are also aggressively pursuing delinquencies. Rev and Tax is working with the limited resources it has to be able to process tax refunds as quickly as possible. It may not be as fast as I would like, but we are processing and paying tax refunds at a similar pace to pr