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Lawmakers stuck in negotiations over construction spending

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:19 a.m. HST, Apr 27, 2012

Stuck over the level of bond-financed state construction spending, state House and Senate negotiators were still working late Thursday to reach an agreement on the state budget, a stalemate that left dozens of bills in limbo ahead of tonight's procedural deadline to complete work before session ends.

A disagreement over how much to spend on state construction to help with economic recovery has held up the $11.2 billion supplemental state budget. The state House has settled at about $300 million — the amount requested by Gov. Neil Abercrombie — the Senate has suggested about $500 million, but wants at least $400 million directed only at repair and maintenance projects at public schools, hospitals and other state buildings.

While the capital improvement project outlay has been the sticking point, the House and Senate are also divided over the degree of regulatory exemptions for state construction. The Senate has proposed streamlined permitting and procurement for smaller repair and maintenance projects for two years and a legislative oversight commission to ensure transparency in bidding and contracting. The House Thursday countered that streamlined permitting and procurement should be applied on a broader range of state construction projects for three years. 

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