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Legislators getting closer to finalizing state budget

By Mark Niesse

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:26 p.m. HST, Apr 28, 2011

Hawaii legislators are planning a state budget that funds an end to public employee furloughs while reducing the cost of running the government.

If approved, the budget would depend on a variety of tax hikes and fee increases to balance the state's $1.3 billion projected deficit over the next two years.

A panel of 29 lawmakers outlined the general fund portion of a state budget Thursday morning and planned to vote on the measure later in the day. Then it would go to the full House and Senate for final votes next week.

The general fund, the part of the budget over which lawmakers have the most control, would amount to about $5.3 billion next fiscal year and $5.5 billion the following year.

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