By Derrick DePledge
State House and Senate negotiators on Friday morning reached agreement on the state budget, which would reduce Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s spending request in light of the state’s downgraded revenue forecast.
Lawmakers agreed to spend $12.1 billion in fiscal year 2015, down from the $12.3 billion Abercrombie had requested. The general fund portion of the budget is $6.1 billion, down from the $6.3 billion the governor had sought.
Negotiators also made adjustments to the budget for this fiscal year, which ends in June. The revision contains $11.7 billion in spending, down from the $11.8 billion in Abercrombie’s request.
Late last night, negotiators settled on a state construction outlay that had been the sticking point in negotiations. The state construction budget would authorize $2.8 billion in spending next fiscal year. The blueprint calls for $2.2 billion in spending for this fiscal year.
The construction budget includes $28 million over two years for the allied health and administration building at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu.
The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s pharmacy college, which was shut out last year, would receive $33 million.
The separate construction budget for the state Judiciary contains $35 million for a new judiciary complex in Kona.
Rep. Sylvia Luke, the lead House negotiator on the budget, said the construction budget does not include the $40 million in bond money for the state to acquire a conservation easement near Turtle Bay Resort.
House lawmakers are scheduled to meet with Abercrombie administration officials Friday afternoon to discuss the terms of the deal with Turtle Bay.
Luke said it is possible that financing for Turtle Bay will be added to a separate bill before Friday’s deadline to have bills ready for final votes next week, when the session adjourns.