Organizations learn how much state money they'll receive - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Organizations learn how much state money they'll receive

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Rep. Marcus Oshiro Rep. Marcus Oshiro
Sen. Sam Slom Sen. Sam Slom
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

State lawmakers tried to balance unlimited demands with limited resources as they come to the end of this year's legislative session and passed than more than $11 billion worth of budget items.

After extending deadlines and not finishing work last Friday lawmakers finally came to a compromise after some spirited last minute negotiations.

"It was a good fight we went the full nine rounds and give and take, he took some blows, I took some blows," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, (D) House Finance Committee Chair.

"There are specific issues or specific bills that have winners or losers but I think overall we've managed the resources of our community quite well," said Sen. David Ige, (D) Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair.

You can tell the economy is getting a bit better because non-profits got money again.  In House Bill 304 a total of 38 groups will split more than $11.6 million.  Among them are Ballet Hawaii which will get 225,000, Catholic Charities will receive $325,000, Read Aloud America gets 450,000, Hawaii Theater Center $468,000 and Wahiawa General Hospital more than $1.7 million.

"They have a plan right now to expand the emergency room to allow more bed space for examinations and for treatment," said Rep. Oshiro.

"We're trying to provide support so that the entire safety net and fabric of hospitals on Oahu can continue to meet the needs of our community," said Sen. Ige.

There were 47 bills approved today.  Some funded positions to inspect elevators and stop invasive species.  Another promotes space tourism.  But junior kindergarten was still cut and the Department of Education will be short $17 million dollars for school bus funding.

"It's up to the DOE. They've been put on notice that they need to go and change their bus contracting system. Obviously the system is broken," said Rep. Oshiro.

"I always would like to do more for education, I would always like to do more for higher education, but you know those are the things. Some people would say those needs are never ending so sometimes you need to be happy with the glass half full," said. Sen. Ige.  "I'm hoping the Department of Education can look at reprioritizing funds within the bureaucracy. There is $90 million in the state and complex area offices and even if they took 10 percent that would get them to a much better place."

Of course not everyone thinks the government should be growing.

"When everybody is still struggling in this town, we have not turned the economy around. There are pockets that have done better but most of us are struggling. For the government to increase the amount of spending, to add to the number of public employees I think is unsustainable so I won't support it," said Sen. Sam Slom, (R) Minority Leader.

All the bills passed today will be voted on Thursday which is also the last day of this legislative session.

To see the full list of organizations awarded state money click here.

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