By Derrick DePledge
House and Senate negotiators expect to start conference committee on the budget soon.
Slom, the lone Republican in the Senate, has been preparing an alternative budget for the past few years as a statement of conservative principles. The senator acknowledges that his recommendations will likely not be adopted by majority Democrats.
Slom would reduce general fund spending by $480 million and special fund spending by $315 million -- a 7 percent decrease from the Senate draft. The senator's prescription:
*$17 million in savings from discontinued programs.
*$110 million by removing vacant positions.
*$146 million through a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut to discretionary spending.
*$207 million in savings through mostly administrative program cuts to the state Department of Education, the state Department of Health and the University of Hawaii.
*$315 million through a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut to special fund spending.
Many public-policy experts have criticized across-the-board spending cuts as a ham-handed approach that treats all state programs the same, rather than prioritizing cuts on programs that are ineffective.
"It is more effective to do that but people have shown that they don't have the willingness to do that," Slom said at a news conference in his Senate office. "And so at this point what I'm saying is we've got to have the cuts. We've got to have the reduction."