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State senators debate governor's innovation plan

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:54 a.m. HST, Mar 25, 2013

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee is mulling whether to fund Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed innovation initiative.

Abercrombie is asking for $20 million to fund a new program to help spur entrepreneurship in Hawaii.

But the House state budget proposal didn't include any money for the plan.

Senators in the Ways and Means Committee met today to vote on the initiative but chose to delay decision-making until Wednesday.

That's also when they plan to publish the Senate's state budget proposal.

Karl Fooks from the Hawaii Strategic Development Corp. says the money would provide investment funding for Hawaii businesses and resources to help new start-ups grow.

He says Hawaii's economy has grown just 0.8 percent over the past 20 years compared to the national average of 2.6 percent.

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