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State House advances $11.1 billion budget

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 3:38 p.m. HST, Mar 12, 2012

The state House today advanced an $11.1 billion supplemental budget bill that leaders say takes a conservative approach to government spending amid an economic recovery that is still fragile.

The House Finance Committee adopted the budget last week, just as the state Council on Revenues was predicting a slightly improved economic forecast for the state. The Council projected revenue growth of 12 percent in the fiscal year that ends in June, up from 11.5 percent in its previous quarterly forecast.

"I welcome the good news of the Council of Revenues from last week, but we all know how fragile this economy and recovery can be," House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Poamoho) said.

He described the budget as an effort to reprioritize, rehabilitate and renew government services.

The measure passed unanimously in the House and now goes to the Senate for further discussion and crafting.

House Republicans raised some concerns.

Minority Leader Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai) lamented what he called "hidden" aspects of the budget.

"Behind this budget are a lot of fees that are propping up this budget, fees that we don't see but fees that are quite large," he said.

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House approves $11.1 billion budget

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