HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Democratic State Representative K. Mark Takai is proposing a one-time gift of up to $10 million for the UH Manoa Athletics Department, to be paid from the State's General Fund.
The gift would be part of a fundraising drive. For every dollar UH raised through private or corporate donations, the State would match double, up to $10 million.
"If we can increase the giving in the community and the corporate world by $1, we can give $2 in state support" he explained.
His reasoning for the proposal is simple.
"If we want to aspire to be a top-50 program, and we want to stay as a Division-I program, we have to be able to compete".
However, even before the legislative session begins, opponents are surfacing.
Republican State Senator Sam Slom doesn't like the idea.
"I'm a graduate of UH, and a supporter of athletics and all that, but I learned early in my life, you don't throw good money after bad," Slom said.
"You look at the red ink and the deficits, and the write-off of money. Jeez, I wish I could write off my debts like that, and yet I'm called upon to pay for this," he continued.
However, Takai says the proposal is about far more than money.
"This proposal is much more than the one-time 10 million dollar infusion. It creates an opportunity to leverage additional community support".
Slom isn't buying, saying "if I'm asked to vote on this proposal, I'll vote NO."