Monday, February 2, 2009

Legislature to take budget reductions

The House Finance committee today passed out House Bill 302, a bill providing for the Legislature’s expenses, with an amendment to reduce the House budget by $1.167 million (from$11,670,163 to $10,503,163)and the Senate budget by $568,679 (from $7,694,360 to $7,125,681.)

“The House is doing its part to address the state’s current budget crisis,” said Speaker of the House, Calvin K.Y. Say. “As a result, we are taking a cut in our operating budget, which will save the state $1.167 million. We have proposed cuts in the areas that do not affect services to the public which is our first priority.”

House Bill 302 provides for the expenses of the Legislature, the Auditor, the Legislative Reference Bureau and the Ombudsman for the Twenty-Fifth Legislature which covers the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions and up to June 30th, 2010. The amended bill reduces by 10% the budgets of the Office of the Auditor and the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Cost savings in the House include a reduction in session staffing, legislators’ out-of-state travel expenses, print shop copying, supplies, equipment rental, deferred maintenance, restrictions on new purchases, and expenses for both majority and minority caucuses.

“The Senate has always said that we are ready and willing to help reduce our State budget and lead the way in overcoming our current economic challenges,” said Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. “We are proud to announce that we have reduced our discretionary budget by a savings of nearly $600,000.”

Senate cost savings include a reduction in the number of temporary session hires, reductions as a result of the Senate’s ongoing paperless initiative, restricted out-of-state travel for Senators and staff, reduced funds for training and professional development, and deferred major purchases and staff salary increases.

“All told, the Senate’s ability to significantly reduce our operating budget is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of very dedicated people,” added Senate President Hanabusa. “They deserve our recognition and our thanks for doing their part to help our State.”

The bill goes to the full House for second and third readings and will cross over to the Senate for review.


Doug said...

How many fewer House session employees will there be next year, if this draft of the bill becomes law?

Georgette said...

Info from the Chief Clerk: There were 20 positions eliminated from the Clerk's Office and Sergeant at Arms Office for the 2009 session, and will in all probability carryover to the 2010 session. No budget reductions were taken for House members' monthly allotment for session employees for the 2009 session.