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Hawaii hurricane relief fund to be spent

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:59 a.m. HST, Jun 1, 2011

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed into law a measure allowing him to spend money from the state’s hurricane relief fund to help balance this year’s budget.

The measure is meant to get the state through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. 

It authorizes the governor to first spend $42 million from the $117 million hurricane relief fund, and then drain it entirely if needed.

Abercrombie’s administration planned to use hurricane money, rainy day savings, special funds and a 10 percent restriction on departmental operating costs to plug a $232 million shortfall since April.

Without the fund, residents and businesses would be at risk of not being able to get insurance coverage if insurance companies stop issuing policies after a major hurricane.

Hurricane season begins today in Hawaii. The National Weather Service predicts a below average number of hurricanes in the Central Pacific because of cooler ocean waters.

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