Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Legislators’ competing
budgets on the Internet

Star-Bulletin staff

Starting tomorrow, the first day of House-Senate conferences to iron out differences on the state budget, residents can follow the process on the Legislature's Web site.

A comparison of House and Senate budget versions will be up at www.Capitol.Hawaii.Gov with explanations of the terms, symbols and acronyms.

House Republicans had criticized the Democrats for keeping the budget worksheets needed to understand the budget secret.

House and Senate leaders said they support a decision by Senate Ways and Means Chairman Brian Taniguchi and House Finance Chairman Dwight Takamine to make the budget process more accessible to the public.

"We have an open-door policy in the Senate," said Senate President Robert Bunda. "And that applies to the legislative process as well."

House Speaker Calvin Say said the worksheets have been available to the public in the Finance Committee hearing room but they had to remain there.

Henceforth, residents can examine the budget and conference developments on their own computer.

Ultimately, that is more economical, Say noted, since people can print their own copies at home if they wish.

"I can see the advantage of using technology to bring government closer to the people, and I will continue to urge cooperation between House and Senate Democrats to work toward this common goal," he said.

Bunda, a former Senate dissident, said he and Say agreed it was time to make budget information more accessible to the public. "The change in leadership has brought a change in the way we do business in the Senate," he said.

While technology can make the process more accessible, Bunda and Say invited voters to continue to use an old-fashioned method of getting information - contacting legislators in person.



Navy crew: Hawaii welcomes home the 24 crew members from the Navy EP-3 surveillance plane after their release from China.

<< Warren Togo: The mentally disabled worker at Camp Smith wins the national William Miller Usdane Memorial Award for overcoming his disability and excelling at his job.

Diamond Head hikers: The popular trail is reopened, new and improved, for daily use after a monthlong facelift kept it closed four days a week.


>> Gov. Ben Cayetano: It's Ben against the world as his stance on the public education strikes pits him against not only two unions but also members of his own party, the Board of Education and a federal judge.

Ford Island Bridge: Barely three years old, the span from Manana to Ford Island already has cracks in at least one concrete piling.

Students: For the second week in a row, Hawaii's public school students, from kindergarten to post-graduate, find themselves on the losing end of a power struggle between the governor and two unions.

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