HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is asking the state for more than half a billion dollars in funding over the next two years.
The budget request comes as the department has come under heavy criticism for not spending enough for native Hawaiians.
"I think it's over inflated. I think there's a lot of padding going on. I'm not sure why," said Robin Danner, chair of the Statewide Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations. "If I were a legislator I would be stunned."
The two-year request includes more than $112 million for administrative and operating costs, $153.1 million for loans and $244.2 million for lot developments and rehabilitation projects.
"They just has a bad track record of spending down the money for native Hawaiian beneficiaries," said House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke "We have to wonder if they have the ability to spend this kind of money, when they couldn't spend $60 million."
Luke is referring to $60 million in federal money that the department has been accused of hoarding and not spending on Hawaiian programs.
One federal agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is withholding any new grants to DHHL for the first time in 15 years.
"We're losing ten million dollars because of hoarding. It's really heartbreaking to see it happen," Danner said. "When those kinds of mistakes are made, it's not the state that suffers. it's low-income families."
We asked for Department for comment but got no response.
The DHHL's budget request will first go to the governor's office for review before it goes before the state legislature.