5 May 2011

Hawaii Legislature passes a two-year state budget

10:25 am on 5 May 2011

The Hawaii Legislature has passed a two-year state budget that aims to eliminate the state's 1-point-3 billion US dollar projected budget shortfall, and pay for the rising demand in government services.

The budget totals 11 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1st and 10-point-9 billion the following year.

The general fund portion of the budget, over which lawmakers have the most control, amounts to 5-point-4 billion next fiscal year and 5-point-6 billion the following year.

The budget relies on about 600 million in tax increases and another 600 million in cuts to Governor Neil Abercrombie's requests.

Another 200 million comes from the state's savings, most notably its hurricane relief fund.

The loss of federal stimulus money, Medicaid shortfalls and higher debt service payments, has increased government expenses.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser paper reports the state House and Senate sent Governor Abercrombie the budget and financial plan yesterday, but notes lawmakers have left little in reserve, should the economy stagnate further.