Legislature OKs $27.3M for operations
A $30 million budget to operate the 2007 state Legislature and its affiliated agencies, up from $27.3 million last year, was approved by the Senate with two Republicans, Sam Slom and Fred Hemmings, voting no.
Slom (R, Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai) said the Legislature should be setting an example and not spending more.
"We spend and spend and spend, but we forget that we are not paying for this, the taxpayers are paying," Slom said.
Hemmings (R, Lanikai-Waimanalo) complained that Democrats designed the budget to pay two full-time staff members for Democrats, but only one full-time staff member for the GOP.
Former Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupukea) called the legislative budget "inflated."
"There have been only vague public explanation for the inflated budget, generalities that indicate the increase is slush for budget decisions to be made down the road," Bunda said.
Senate Vice President Donna Kim said she was unable to get specifics from Bunda's appointees in previous budgets.
The budget increase, Kim said, was for reprinting a constitutional amendment brochure, payouts for staff vacations, increased travel expenses for senators and new computers.
The bill now goes to the House for approval.