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That sums up the position of Gov.
Neil Abercrombie in refuting the "boondoggle" tag that critics have beset on the trade association for choosing the 50
th state for its annual meeting, particularly when considering the State of Hawai'i's success in improving and reforming its public pension system.
"Those who aren't here are missing out, because this state is doing things right," said Gov. Abercrombie during the opening address at the NCPERS conference on
Monday, May 20, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in
Honolulu. "I invite any of your critics to come out here and get on a stage with me, and we'll see who's defending defined benefits the way it should be done." (Gov. Abercrombie's speech can be viewed at
The Governor personally invited attendees to speak with members of his administration, such as conference attendee Finance Director
Kalbert Young, to hear intimately about programs instituted to reform Hawai'i's public employee retirement system without requiring layoffs.
"Hawai'i's beautiful scenery and weather may blind some to the fact that we are home to a thriving, sophisticated and contemporary government and business community," the Governor later added at the conference. "Given the focus of this conference, I can think of no more appropriate venue than Hawai'i. Unfunded liabilities are crippling state and local governments across the country. This is serious business, and Hawai'i provides a working model.
"To let a knee-jerk perception color one's opinion at the expense of participating in the discussion misses the boat. NCPERS' critics are not thinking out-of-the-box, yet that is exactly what is needed to find truly transformative solutions."