East Hawaii News

House Approves Its Version of State Budget

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The state House of Representatives today voted to approve its version of the state’s $12 billion supplemental budget, and sent it over to the Senate.

House Bill 1700, Draft 1, reflects changes to the spending plan for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke said the budget reflects a reduction in requests from Gov. Neil Abercrombie for operating and capital improvement funding. She said that view proved to be prudent, given the latest projections from the Council on Revenues.

The council on Tuesday said it expected zero growth in the economy in the upcoming fiscal year. In January it had predicted a 3.3% growth rate, and the change would mean $180 million less in state revenues than previously predicted.

Luke said the House had planned for a worse-case scenario of 1% growth.

“Consequently, even under the Council’s latest projections, I think we will be handing over to the Senate a budget that’s much more within the ballpark than if we hadn’t been as prudent,” she said in a statement issued today.

The CIP portion of the budget contains funding for two major Big Island projects.

The House has earmarked $33 million from various funding sources for a new building for the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

It also approved $40 million for a new Kona courthouse. That is less than half of what was sought by the state Judiciary, which is hoping that the Senate will see fit to make up the difference.


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