Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rep Takamine questions B&F on release of funds for HCEOC

Rep. Dwight Takamine is trying to help the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) in getting the Lingle administration to release funds for their transportation program. He sent out a news release yesterday explaining that he has written to Georgina Kawamura, Director of the Department of Budget and Finance, reminding them that the legislature appropriated $227,651 in 2007 for this needy program.

On the Big Island, public transportation does not provide services off the highway. HCEOC operates a transportation program that helps the low-income elderly, the disabled, dialysis patients, and low-income pre-school children with transportation needs.

To date, the administration has released $100,000 of the total amount, and this is creating such a hardship that the program is in jeopardy. The director of the Council has been working at three-quarters salary since February and may be forced to start layoffs.

“As House Finance Chair during the economic crisis of the 1990's and post September 11, I understand the hard decisions that need to be made when faced with an economic downturn," said Rep. Takamine. “But I believe we should always look out for the most vulnerable of our citizens. HCEOC acts as the lifeline for these people, and we need to support their efforts."

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