Hawaii Open Budget's Online Conference Committee Tracking Tool
News Release from office of Senator Sam Slom, April 27, 2015
HONOLULU— The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means and House of Representatives Finance committees will again come together in Conference Committee tomorrow to tackle $535 million in differences between the respective chambers' drafts of the state operating budget.
Senator Sam Slom says, "I am pleased to announce that the Hawaii Open Budget website now features a Conference Committee tracking tool, which will be updated daily, shortly after decisions are made in the Conference Committee budget meetings. The site will also allow people to compare all the drafts of the state budget- from the existing base budget, through the Governor's, the Senate's, and the House's versions, and eventually, the Conference Committee draft. It is only fair and right that Hawaii citizens have a resource like this site, which will provide useful, relevant updates on the state budget as it comes together."
To use the Conference Committee tracking tool, go to www.hawaiiopenbudget.com, then scroll down and click on “Conference Committee Negotiations.” The page will default to a “Summary” page that provides a big picture of the budget, and is organized by means of financing. An example of a means of financing would be federal funds, or general funds. From there, use the drop down boxes of “Conference Decision Status” and “Conference Decision Date” to filter for more detail. Those who prefer to view details according to specific program ID and sequence number can click on the tab “Budget Decisions” above the graph, then filter as necessary.
Recognizing the time consuming nature of tracking the differences between the different budget drafts, Hawaii Open Budget will provide the public with a running total of the budget decisions that will be made daily during Conference Committee. The administrators of the Hawaii Open Budget website will complete a final reconciliation of the decisions once the conference draft of the budget has been released.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hawaii is one of only four states that do not provide a budget summary to its citizens. The Senate Minority has long advocated changing this, and now has provided the means to do it. The NCSL website contains links to all 46 state budget summaries which are "brief documents highlighting the important provisions of a budget that often include charts and graphs outlining how funds have been appropriated."
Since its launch in March, www.hawaiiopenbudget.com has provided timely updates on the budget following such developments as the March 12 Council on Revenues forecast, as well as the details of both the Senate and House versions of the budget as they were released.
The Ways and Means and Finance Committees will meet again to discuss the budget on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 2pm in Room 309 at the Hawaii Capitol.
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