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Governor asks $439M for new spending plan

The administration wants money for computer systems, education and senior care

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 10:17 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012

The Abercrombie administration, in its budget proposal to the state Legislature, is calling for $439 million in new spending in the next fiscal year, with an emphasis on early childhood education programs and upgrading the state's antiquated computer systems.

Funding would also be increased for senior care programs and for dealing with the state's long-term liabilities associated with employee and retiree health benefits. The budget also restores the 5 percent taken from public employee paychecks to help close the deficit.

As required by law, Abercrombie released his budget draft to the Legislature on Monday.

But he declined to discuss specifics out of respect to his longtime friend U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Ino­uye, who died Monday of respiratory illness at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"I want to indicate that we will take this up in a couple of days, when it's appropriate," Abercrombie said at the start of his news conference on the budget, before shifting to talk about Inouye.

The administration previously said it would seek some type of revenue enhancement — similar to the tax adjustments made during the past few years — to help finance the state's priorities, but there was no discussion of such measures Monday.

"This balanced budget will build upon sound strategies that will continue to stimulate our local economy while moving forward on (information technology) transformation initiatives to better prepare Hawaii for an increasingly technological age," Abercrombie said in a prepared statement.

Sen. David Ige, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said Monday he had not yet been briefed on the specifics of the proposal.

"We'll go through it," Ige (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea) said. "Obviously, we are committed to work with the administration to fashion a budget that meets critical needs and is something that we can live with.

"We'll have to see as we go through the session what the needs are and what available funds are. At the end we'll make it all balance."

Lawmakers are expected to begin next month the annual round of budget hearings in preparation for the opening of the 2013 legislative session Jan. 16.

Also next month, the state Council on Revenues will meet to set the revenue forecast for the coming fiscal year, giving the state an idea of how much money will be available for use.

The most recent revenue forecast, in September, predicted a 4.9 percent increase in tax revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. Through the first four months of the current fiscal year, state tax collections are up 11.3 percent from the same period a year ago, but Ige cautioned that collections could dip next year as homeowners and businesses begin to file tax returns and claims for renewable energy tax credits.

The Council on Revenues raised concerns at its September meeting about the effects of the credits on the state's tax coffers. The state offers a 35 percent state income tax credit for homeowners and businesses that install photovoltaic systems.

"It's hard to get a sense of what that impact would be and how it would show up," Ige said.

Abercrombie's overall budget proposal of $11.8 billion from all sources of revenue is about 5 percent more than the $11.2 billion budget adopted by the Legislature last year for the fiscal year ending June 2013.

The governor's budget increases to $12.1 billion for fiscal year 2015, the second year of the two-year budget cycle.

The budget includes about $59 million in each fiscal year for information technology initiatives and improvements to the state's aging computer systems, $44.9 million over two years for the Executive Office of Early Learning and early childhood education and health initiatives, and $29.3 million over two years for digital curriculum for school Common Core State Standards.



Highlights of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s two-year budget presented Monday to the state Legislature, covering the period from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2015:

>> About $59 million per year for information technology initiatives and improvements

>> More than $7.1 million in FY 2014 and $22.2 million in FY 2015 for digital curriculum for school Common Core State Standards

>> More than $9.6 million in FY 2014 and $35.3 million in FY 2015 for the Executive Office of Early Learning and early childhood education and health initiatives

>> More than $5.6 million in FY 2014 and $5.9 million in FY 2015 for the Executive Office on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and kupuna care programs

>> More than $118.1 million in FY 2014 and $172.8 million in FY 2015 for health premium payments and other retiree benefits

Source: Office of the Governor

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peanutgallery wrote:
We've done the computer thing before. I can't remember off the top of my head whose brother, or sons' firm, got the contract, but this ones already been covered. The problem with liberal dems is they can never spend enough of our money. Expansion of government is their number one priority.
on December 18,2012 | 01:34AM
what wrote:
True that. Abercrombie is out of control. We just got through some of the biggest tax hikes this State has ever witnessed in order to avert a budget shortfall, and the State is now collecting more of the people's money than ever before. So how does Abercrombie respond? Spend spend spend until the taxpayers pockets are picked clean, then raise taxes some more when then next budget shortfall comes.
on December 18,2012 | 02:44AM
wiliki wrote:
Not true at all. Combined state and local spending is about average and considering our high cost of living considerably BELOW mainland standards.
on December 18,2012 | 04:26AM
palani wrote:
As usual, your wild assertions cannot be substantiated, wiliki. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as reported by Civil Beat, Hawaii ranks among the TOP 5 states in per capita spending.


on December 18,2012 | 04:43AM
aomohoa wrote:
We need more privatization. More successful. Look out the USPS. It is a complete mess. Compare it to the efficiency of Fedex and UPS.
on December 18,2012 | 08:22AM
Mythman wrote:
When the manics who dominate Hawaii start doing privatization of stuff they control will be the day Hawaii's weather becomes just like Alaska's weather.
on December 18,2012 | 12:19PM
aomohoa wrote:
I'm talking the nation not just Hawaii, that is why I mentioned the USPS which is complete mess managed and does nothing but lose money.
on December 18,2012 | 02:19PM
wiliki wrote:
Hawaii ranks about 40th in local taxes. That makes it about average in state and local spending combined. This is the only that we can be compared with the mainland. Hawaii is unique in our school financing and can't be compared to any other place in the mainland on that score.
on December 18,2012 | 02:20PM
Kuniarr wrote:
wiliki 40th in local taxes? How so? Other than Hawaii, mainland states impose a Sales Tax not a General Excise Tax like Hawaii.
on December 18,2012 | 03:13PM
localguy wrote:
amohoa - Congress, the same agency who every year fails to do their job, is in charge of USPS finances, clearly why all the money problems. Take USPS away from congress, problem solved. Bureaucrats just don't get it.
on December 18,2012 | 05:22PM
aomohoa wrote:
You tell him palani:) Wiliki is always sure is he right>
on December 18,2012 | 02:18PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Put a cork in that Kool-Aid jug wiliki. You can't just re-invent the facts to suit your version of events. Take off your blinders.
on December 18,2012 | 05:12AM
wondermn1 wrote:
Instead of a shaka the new sign will be BEND OVER AND OPEN YOUR WALLETS CAUSE HERE COME DA DEMOCRATS. Wiliki, you need to get more polish for the RUSTING RAILS as they will need to be kept nice for many years prior to install. What we need is to fix our dam roads and make Hawaii small business friendly rather than a small business nightmare like it is now. Neil figures Hawaii tax payers were dumb enough to let Carlier and Caldwell build MUFI's RAIL SO THEY MUST HAVE TONS OF MONEY FOR TAXES SO HE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE IT TO HIS CRONIES. SPEND SPEND SPEND UNTIL OUR CHILDREN GO BANKRUPT OR JUST GO ON WELFARE AND LET OBAMMA SUPPORT THEM.
on December 18,2012 | 07:13AM
palani wrote:
The spending zombies and deficit deniers have buried their heads in the sand, so they are ready to comply with your shaka replacement sign, wondermn1.
on December 18,2012 | 12:56PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Wiliki, you never seem to understand the problem. No government, city, state or federal, can spend more money than it takes in year after year and expect to remain solvent. The state is living off borrowed money, $2 billion since Abercrombie took office, and it most likely will borrow more money during the next two-year budget cycle. It is a recipe for disaster. If the state cannot live within its means now, what do you think will happen when the bonds become due? From where will the state get the money to pay them? You probably have not thought about that.
on December 18,2012 | 07:33AM
wiliki wrote:
The last Republican governor tied up state revenue in risky investments. We're lucky that interest rates are near zero and the state bond rates are at all time lows. The Democrats have bailed us out.
on December 18,2012 | 02:23PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Your reply is irrelevant. Your economic logic is screwed up when you call overspending by the government as making taxpayers "lucky" because of low interest rates. Why would any taxpaer be "Lucky", wiliki to be burdened with a tax increase to pay for interest and principal on the over $1 billion bonds issued?
on December 18,2012 | 03:22PM
aomohoa wrote:
Still to much wasted government spending no matter how you twist it.
on December 18,2012 | 08:20AM
wiliki wrote:
That's the purpose of the computer spending. Lingle made a good effort but she needed someone like Sonny Bhagowalla.
on December 18,2012 | 02:24PM
Kuniarr wrote:
You are talking about spending beyond the revenue capacity of the State, wiliki
on December 18,2012 | 03:23PM
palani wrote:
I seem to recall that Abercrombie's IT czar,Sanjeev Bhagowalia has contracted with Canada's CGI Technologies and Solutions, a company that has been criticized by both the Legislature and the State Auditor in the past for its dealings with the Department of Taxation. Retiring Auditor Higa recommended that the state move away from relying on such outside vendors.

While I believe spending should be cut, Abercrombie's 5% budget increase appears to be inline with the Council on Revenues' 4.9% projected tax revenue growth.

on December 18,2012 | 04:27AM
wiliki wrote:
Perhaps we'll have more revenue if Obama will have a good agreement with the Republicans. But he'll have to go over the cliff to get it. Will he, or wont he? http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/the-deal-dilemma/
on December 18,2012 | 02:31PM
aomohoa wrote:
You are so write peanutgallery, not matter how Wiliki tries to rebuff it. I just want there the traffic department to be able to fix the signal light timing. They next a good computer system for that.
on December 18,2012 | 08:19AM
wiliki wrote:
They already do that... there's not much more reduction that you can squeeze out with timing changes.
on December 18,2012 | 02:32PM
false wrote:
Data House.
on December 18,2012 | 11:16AM
Kawipoo wrote:
Instead of banning guns ban Abercrombie's pictures. Every time my kids see his face they are frightened thinking the boogie man is coming.
on December 18,2012 | 03:14AM
Mythman wrote:
Without the bread, he looks ordinary and God forbid a Pol should look ordinary
on December 18,2012 | 12:21PM
toomuchpilikia wrote:
SPEND, SPEND, SPEND....."That's the way we have always done it"! (New State Motto)
on December 18,2012 | 04:01AM
soundofreason wrote:
That's 'ma State!
on December 18,2012 | 06:18AM
MakaniKai wrote:
soundofreason....clever! LOL aloha
on December 18,2012 | 07:34AM
soundofreason wrote:
Thank you ;)
on December 18,2012 | 09:07PM
aomohoa wrote:
We just need the Fed. Gov. to print more worthless money and give it to use. Money isn't worth the paper it is printed on. It's a joke.
on December 18,2012 | 08:24AM
sailfish1 wrote:
What is "early childhood education programs"? If that is pre-school, that is nonsense. Pre-school is the responsibility of the parents, not the state, city, or any other government entity.
on December 18,2012 | 04:18AM
palani wrote:
"Pre-school" is how we get government to pay for babysitting our keiki.
on December 18,2012 | 04:37AM
allie wrote:
wrong..critical pre-literacy and pre-math skills are taught. Children need to be kindergarten ready
on December 18,2012 | 05:31AM
ueharator wrote:
Then what's next - children having to be pre-school ready? Parents need to step up to the plate and take responsibility. I never went to pre-school, my parents couldn't afford it and i received a hs diploma as well as a BBA from UH.
on December 18,2012 | 06:12AM
aomohoa wrote:
Funny ueharator, that is what I just wrote. It's so true.
on December 18,2012 | 08:27AM
allie wrote:
The Gov. said it is voluntary
on December 18,2012 | 04:26PM
sailfish1 wrote:
If it' voluntary, we don't need it and we shouldn't have to PAY for it!
on December 18,2012 | 11:45PM
palani wrote:
Kindergarten is "pre-school"!
on December 18,2012 | 07:11AM
Mythman wrote:
Lyndon Johnson started "pre" school and after billions and billions and billions of dollars, what?
on December 18,2012 | 12:23PM
allie wrote:
he started Head Start..different. Preschools are broader
on December 18,2012 | 04:27PM
aomohoa wrote:
No it's not???
on December 18,2012 | 03:45PM
allie wrote:
no hon..learning starts way before kindergarten
on December 18,2012 | 04:26PM
aomohoa wrote:
It should be at home. You don't have kids so you don't know that that is the mother's job. I worked but I also taught my kids there letters and numbers and read to them everyday. That is the way it should be. Yes some moms have no choice but most moms use preschool so they can work or if they have money so they can have some time for themselves.
on December 18,2012 | 06:02PM
aomohoa wrote:
True but wouldn't it be wonderful if the parents help do that. We didn't have preschool when I was a kid. My mother taught me the alphabet and to count. It is important for socialization, I didn't get that until I went to school.
on December 18,2012 | 08:26AM
allie wrote:
great..but I went through head Start. My single mom was dirt poor.
on December 18,2012 | 04:27PM
aomohoa wrote:
She didn't know how to read and teach you? Did she work? I guess you were maybe lucky to get some free bees.
on December 18,2012 | 06:04PM
soundofreason wrote:
Better than pre-school to pay for them, is the Arbor Day Care Hawaii program which IS paying relatives/friends of the mother to watch her kids. ALL unlicensed. MILLIONS of dollars every year being kicked to "grandma" to watch her grandbabies while kicking back dollars to the moms.
on December 18,2012 | 06:21AM
aomohoa wrote:
That is ridiculous. Family takes care of family. They shouldn't get paid to do it!
on December 18,2012 | 03:47PM
wiliki wrote:
Great news... the state does need to have its computer systems revamped. I just hope that the legacy data is not lost, For example, under the new federal retirement system, my stuff under the old system is stored on paper in some warehouse in the mainland. I can't retire by online because the new system does not have my records.

Early childhood education is probably the most important item in Abercrombie's budget. It'll probably have a bigger effect on our kids than any new teaching methodology. Up to five years of age, the kid will undergo huge changes in brain structure. It's a very important time for intellectual development. Hopefully, problems diagnosed early will be mitigated by the relevant training and therapy by the time the kid reaches kindergarten.

on December 18,2012 | 04:24AM
peanutgallery wrote:
Actually wiliki, the biggest impact on your child's education is "YOU", the parent(s). Those who feel compelled to constantly rely on government weaken by the day. Stable two parent family environment. Best remedy for early learning.
on December 18,2012 | 05:14AM
1coconut wrote:
Amen brother, Neil hasn't lost it, he never had it to lose
on December 18,2012 | 05:45AM
Wazdat wrote:
AGREE...this state is screwed
on December 18,2012 | 06:44AM
wondermn1 wrote:
WOW great idea letting the parents raise kids. why not let kids be kids until they get old enought to work for the slave master TAX MAN OF HAWAI, UNCLE NEIL DA SPENDER.
on December 18,2012 | 07:18AM
allie wrote:
on December 18,2012 | 05:32AM
ichiban wrote:
The government realizes the younger the age of the children the easier to brainwash them into their political correctness education.
on December 18,2012 | 06:14AM
soundofreason wrote:
and dependency.
on December 18,2012 | 06:42AM
toomuchpilikia wrote:
Amen to that!
on December 18,2012 | 07:06AM
aomohoa wrote:
Funny soundofreason and ichiban. I needed a laugh today!
on December 18,2012 | 08:30AM
South76 wrote:
The primary educators for our keikis are the parents. Involved parents in their children's education make the biggest contribution in their children's up bringing. Our system of tax and spend contributes to our children being left at home to their own device; both parents working two-three jobs to makes ends meet while a big chunk of their hard end money ends up to pay the govt unions; in turn govt employees send their children to private schools. Lower taxes means more money for family to take home to pay what they need an not what the govt thinks it needs and in the end parents have more time to get involved in their children's education....but then again we need to look at the type of jobs available in this town.....service jobs = minimum wage & does not require much higher education. Education reform will never take place because the state (liberal govt) have a high stake in keeping the majority under-educated....who will fill those positions in Waikiki cleaning up toilets and cleaning up someone's crap.
on December 18,2012 | 06:33AM
wiliki wrote:
That much is obvious. However, parents need a lot of help if their kid is autistic for example. But the earlier the diagnosis the greater hope for the kid because parents need the guidance to act.
on December 18,2012 | 02:15PM
aomohoa wrote:
Just a small %, why use that as an example? You are grasping at straws Wiliki.
on December 18,2012 | 02:23PM
allie wrote:
Many parents want help. I say help them and forget about race discrimiantion which rules out here. Help all who need help
on December 18,2012 | 04:28PM
aomohoa wrote:
You are the one that seems to discriminate by your comments in the past. Anyone should get help if they also contribute to society. I am sick of paying taxes to the takers who contribute nothing but get free handouts.
on December 18,2012 | 06:07PM
aomohoa wrote:
Only the government is this far behind. That is why privatization is so much better. It will also cost much more money when the gov changes over. it is so inefficient and wasteful.
on December 18,2012 | 08:29AM
wiliki wrote:
Baloney... govt is much more efficient than privatization in many areas. In some areas, such as health care private providers are very inefficient. It depends on the kind of market.
on December 18,2012 | 02:16PM
aomohoa wrote:
Not true. Medical, etc is abused and what about the USPS? It's pathetic. You want something built, it costs twice as much if the government is involved.
on December 18,2012 | 03:50PM
Wazdat wrote:
How about PAVING some of the roads mister gov ???
on December 18,2012 | 06:43AM
SteveToo wrote:
Typical liberal. Loves to spend other peoples money.
on December 18,2012 | 06:59AM
aomohoa wrote:
on December 18,2012 | 08:30AM
HD36 wrote:
Looks like the largest spending is nearly $300 million in government retiree benefits. If government employees don't use their vacation or sick leave, it accrues and they can take it in a lump sum. In CA one guy got a check for over $600k. In the private sector, most places have a use it or lose it policy. I guess you gotta rewdard those who put you in office. The great public union at its best.
on December 18,2012 | 07:07AM
aomohoa wrote:
I like to hear Wiliki on stuff like this. He disappears.
on December 18,2012 | 03:51PM
mcc wrote:
Does he get rid of furloughs for teachers like yesterday was furlough Monday.
on December 18,2012 | 07:11AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Wat? Nobody ever hear of unfunded liabilities? Any sign of paying down those annoying little billion dollar issues?
on December 18,2012 | 07:22AM
inlanikai wrote:
The State should bring in somebody and assess whether or not they really need new computers before they spend $118 over the next two years. Someone reputable with the proper expertise, like a brother-in-law or cousin or 14 year old nephew into video games. Oh wait .... that will be another $5 million.
on December 18,2012 | 07:58AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Governor here’s a newsflash: You WORK for US the people of Hawaii. Not the other way around. Find a way to spend our money within means. That’s what our ohana does. Dec 17th was a mournful day and at the same time a huge wake up call. Sadly I know that you & your kind can not budget and will continue to bleed your employer (the taxpayer) dry! Aloha.
on December 18,2012 | 08:00AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
The state is hedging on future revenues. And how often has that been inaccurate? In recent times that prognostication has been proven inaccurate. While all of this is going on there is a pink elephant sitting in the room by the name of HSTA (or teachers for that matter as they actually ARE the union). Their strategy is to wait it out and stall the negotiation in order to get a more favorable offer from the state. While they sign wave their "For the Children" banners they deny our children their best in the form of rule to work. I remember the time they did that claiming that their priority was our children and then cut the school days to one of the shortest in the nation. Hawaii was the brunt of many national headlines when it came to our furlough shortened school year. This as they claimed that our children was their priority. Then the blamed it on then-governor Lingle. It takes two to tango, teachers. The biggest consumer of our taxes is education. So if we are to have any discussions regarding our budget, education should be at the forefront. And right now our educational system is broken. Each year our scores are one of the lowest as we spend more and more on it. There has to be teacher accountability. Many parents, including myself, are sending their children to private schools because we do not have any confidence in our public schools. For these parents who are paying for the public school system as we pay for our children's private school tuition, there should be vouchers. And this voucher should be available to all parents to allow them to send their children to whichever school they wish. Each parent would be given the opportunity to spend the money that would have been spent on their children's education in public schools on a private education. If the tuition is more than the voucher, they can pay the difference. We are tired of public school teachers that are more involved in their union than on educating our children. So how about it, governor? Offer us parents REAL options. It is time for a voucher system.
on December 18,2012 | 08:03AM
ichiban wrote:
Never happen. The government wants control of our money in every aspect of our lives. They don't want to give us options.
on December 18,2012 | 08:28AM
inverse wrote:
Wishful thinking but the DOE monstrosity will NEVER change. That is why so many parents in send their kids to PRIVATE school. And if you are not wealthy and have children, you move in with grandfather/grandma in their house, work two jobs to help pay for private school tuition. In the State of Hawaii given the perpetual problems with public teachers and their union and how most of the BILLIONS of taxpayer monies to fund public educations does NOT reach the classroom, the investment to send a kid to private school; even a 2ndor 3rd tiered private school below Punahou and Iolani is a worthwhile expenditure. The ultimate failure of Hawaii public schools, although can never be directly proven, although many know this to be true; had Obama attended public school in Hawaii, he would have NEVER become president of the US.
on December 18,2012 | 08:58AM
mcc wrote:
Private school doese notake a President!
on December 18,2012 | 10:52AM
Kawipoo wrote:
on December 18,2012 | 11:34AM
aomohoa wrote:
I guess you went to public school. LOL!
on December 18,2012 | 03:53PM
mcc wrote:
Parents have the right to send their children to private schools but we should not have to pay for it. Nothing is wrong with public schools.
on December 18,2012 | 10:50AM
aomohoa wrote:
YOU don't!
on December 18,2012 | 03:53PM
mcc wrote:
Spend, spend, spend. Can't even get the kids to school and moving on to the nex failure.
on December 18,2012 | 10:42AM
aomohoa wrote:
on December 18,2012 | 06:08PM
mcc wrote:
Now Neil know how Marci felt when he "advised" her to keep Donavan. I hope he has a mind of his own as Marci did.
on December 18,2012 | 10:56AM
UhhDuhh wrote:
Antiquated computers? Computers only work as fast as the people using them. Even iPads won't speed up the lines at the DMV.
on December 18,2012 | 10:57AM
false wrote:
Right, the operative word here is "people" using them. What the heck is our state workers doing all day anyway. LOL Updating computer might be fine but what about cleaning up state spending on the labor side. There are just too many state workers in the first place. That would be a saving to get the update on computers. Cut government. Also, as far as early education we can't get a handle in regular education. What the heck?
on December 18,2012 | 11:23AM
false wrote:
I'd take bets that Date House will get the the contract. The have a connect to getting the government contracts. A little pay back I guess.
on December 18,2012 | 11:15AM
Kuniarr wrote:
The state has an outstanding bond debt of over $1 billion. Abercrombie had just recently bragged about issuing new bonds in the millions. Add the $439 million of new spending, Abercrombie thinks that taxpayers grow money on trees.
on December 18,2012 | 11:35AM
bboops wrote:
Neil start digging the hole to get to the BURIED TREASURE BECAUSE THE REST OF US DON'T HAVE IT TO GIVE!!!! Wake up and do some real thinking about your DREAM budget!!!
on December 18,2012 | 12:19PM
false wrote:
Abercrombie, We elected you to spend money. Please Spend, Spend, Spend. Oh and don't forget you are really buying votes.
on December 18,2012 | 12:58PM
allie wrote:
If you really are a teacher, you know that high quality pre-k is a key to getting the keiki to go tot eh K-12.
on December 18,2012 | 04:30PM
aomohoa wrote:
Parents that care and that get involved.are just as important. I never had preschool and I managed to graduate form nursing school with high honors. I had a good mom.
on December 18,2012 | 06:10PM
64hoo wrote:
spend spend spend spend some more spending we don't need to put us in a worse defecit. the dems never learn.
on December 18,2012 | 04:49PM
localguy wrote:
Neil, Neil, Neil, what are you thinking? Or are you? Why are you hitting taxpayers for areas not part of core government required services? Taxpayers are already covering K - 12, all that is required. If parents and other special interest groups want preschool education, let the parent pay for it. They are responsible for this expense, not taxpayers. Sad to say Neil hasn't got a clue about a balanced budget, sucking up to special interest groups, wasteful spending on the increase again. Neil, if you can't make the hard decisions to prevent wasteful spending, just admit it and resign.
on December 18,2012 | 05:20PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Oh great! We can't even supply buses for our kids going to their schools. How we going to get our kids to "early childhood education"?
on December 18,2012 | 11:48PM
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