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Tuesday, February 8, 2000



HAWAII'S STAKE IN THE CLINTON BUDGET

Tapa

Military budget has
$300 million for
isle projects

Housing, community projects could expand

By Gregg K. Kakesako
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Nearly $300 million worth of military construction and housing for Hawaii is in President Clinton's proposed $291.1 billion budget, topping the nearly $269 million that was approved last year.

The high level of White House spending proposed for the islands is seen as a booster shot to Hawaii's ailing economy.

However, this is only the opening salvo in a long budgetary process, so the submitted budget doesn't reflect the spending priorities of Hawaii's congressional delegation nor the add-ons that will come before final approval is given by Congress this fall.

In addition to military construction, Clinton's budget proposal, released yesterday, calls for a 3.7 percent increase in military pay. That's on top of last year's increase, which brought the troops their first raise since the end of the Cold War.

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Much of the request for Army military construction funds at Schofield Barracks is a continuation of a major barracks renewal program underway for the 25th Infantry Division.

More than 4,300 barracks space will be upgraded or constructed under the Army's $750 million Whole Barracks Renewal Project at Schofield over the next several years.

Clinton's budget sets aside $46.4 million for a Schofield Barracks complex on Wilson Street, plus another $43.8 million for a barracks complex at Wheeler Army Air Field in Wahiawa.

The president's budget, which outlines federal spending for the next fiscal year beginning in October, sets aside $35.6 million to continue the planning and construction of a new $90 million multistory building at Camp Smith for the headquarters of the Pacific Command, now headed by Adm. Dennis Blair.

More than $15.8 million was approved last year for the first renovation on the 220.5-acre military installation that overlooks Pearl Harbor at Aiea Heights. It has been the headquarters for the commander in chief of the Pacific Command since 1957.

The current headquarters building -- which served as a hospital during World War II -- will be returned to its original tenant, Marine Forces Pacific and Fleet Marine Force.

Other proposed military construction and housing projects in the proposed federal budget include:

Bullet $18.4 million: To build a bachelor enlisted quarters at Marine Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

Bullet $12 million: To upgrade a wharf at the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center at Pearl Harbor.

Bullet $16.5 million: To construct a bachelor enlisted quarters at Pearl Harbor Naval Station.

Bullet $14.2 million: To relocate the Navy's SEAL team from Ford Island, which is being set aside as a major Navy housing area.

Bullet $4.6 million: To upgrade a hangar complex at Hickam Air Force Base.


Housing, community
projects could expand

By Christine Donnelly
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Hawaii would get $8.4 million more to subsidize low-income housing and expand related programs as part of President Clinton's ambitious budget proposal for fiscal year 2001.

A Hawaii housing official lauded the proposal while also noting the money's not a sure thing.

"It has to get through Congress. But at least we're starting ... on a very positive note with the administration supporting funding for these very important programs in Hawaii," said Gordon Y. Furutani, senior community builder in the Hawaii branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "There's always more programs that need to be implemented than we have funds for."

Clinton's budget would increase HUD's nationwide budget by $6 billion to $32.1 billion in fiscal year 2001, the strongest budget in two decades, with increases in every program area.

Hawaii's share -- nearly $49 million, an $8.4 million increase from fiscal year 2000 -- would go toward such programs as helping 848 more poor families pay their rent, improving and expanding public housing projects such as Kuhio Park Terrace, creating housing tailored for low-income senior citizens and offering more education and job training to help homeless people become self-sufficient, Furutani said.

There's also more in a flexible block grant program that could go toward a variety of community revitalization projects, he said.

"It's very flexible and very broad, it could be to improve roads, develop housing or loan programs or help small businesses," Furutani said.

The HUD funding is part of Clinton's overall $1.84 trillion budget -- 2.5 percent higher than the budget currently running the nation. Congressional Republicans have derided the plan as a lame-duck spending spree and vowed to increase its tax cuts and trim its spending increases. Clinton countered that the nation is prosperous and can afford to spend more on improved programs.



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