EXCLUSIVE: Maui office for Lt. Gov. to cost $200K
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plans to open a Maui office for the state of Hawaii's no. 2 executive will cost nearly $200,000.
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui says the new office will provide greater access for neighbor island residents -- many who feel left out of the legislative process.
But critics say the move will waste taxpayer money.
"Expanding in this economy as they are with taxpayers having their taxes increase as much as they are," said Tim Lussier, executive director of the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii.
"I think we need to focus on living within our means and not expanding."
Funding for the office was contained in an emergency appropriations bill that calls for $105,000 in office renovations on Maui and $85,000 for additional security for the Lieutenant Governor.
Tsutsui's family lives on Maui and Tsutsui will split his time living on Oahu and Maui.
The Lieutenant Governor said that the state is considering offices on other neighbor islands as well.
He said the new office also will be equipped with teleconferencing equipment to allow representatives from various state office to participate in discussions with neighbor island residents.
"This is an opportunity for the governor to really spread out some of the responsibilities and make sure that no matter where you live -- whether you live in Hilo, whether you live in Hanalei -- that they do have proper representation," he said.
Some residents feel that the additional offices will be too costly.
"I'm always opposed to government spending more money. it's basically our money and we get to be taxed more for it," said Honolulu resident Bill Comerford.
Critics have little say on the issue at this point. The emergency appropriation bill for Maui office sailed through the Legislature and was sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
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