State departments urge Senate to restore vacancies

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii state departments are urging lawmakers to reverse the state House's decision to cut more than 900 vacant positions from department budgets.

The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee met Tuesday to deliberate the 2013-2015 state budget.

The House's $23.25 billion budget draft falls about $590 million short of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's request.

The proposal removes funding for state positions that have been vacant for two years or more.

State departments say the cuts are indiscriminate and harmful. They say the across-the-board approach ignores those positions that are in the process of being filled and others that provide critical needs.

Members of the executive branch also prodded the Senate to fund the governor's highly publicized preschool program and innovation initiative.

The committee decided to delay decision-making.

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