August 28, 2001
Contact: Rep. Dwight Takamine, 586-6200
Sen. Brian Taniguchi, 586-6460


The appropriations committees of the State Senate and House of Representatives have embarked on a three-day visit to the eastern side of the Big Island to study a range of subjects with possible fiscal implications, according to Rep. Dwight Takamine, chair, House Finance Committee.

It is the first time that the committees have coordinated efforts to gather information and exercise oversight, Takamine said.

"We are pleased to join the Finance Committee on its biennial site visits to various parts of the State," said Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chair of Ways & Means. "In this way, we can both receive the same information at the same time. It should facilitate a much better understanding of important financial issues facing the Legislature."

The site visit to the Big Island began yesterday, highlighted by a visit to the University of Hawaii - Hilo campus and a meeting with representatives of the agriculture industry.

Today, the delegation is meeting with Hilo area business people, examining conditions at Hamakua Ditch, and will discuss a community-based plan for the future of the Hilo-Hamakua Coast, Takamine said.

"We are looking at areas where we have provided funds in the past to see how the funds are being expended," he said. "But we are also interested in potential funding issues that may come before the Legislature next session or in the next few years."

The committees will conclude the visit tomorrow with a discussion of major transportation issues, including the impact of cruise ships on East Hawaii, and meet with the Hawaii County Economic Opportunities Council.

Members of the House Finance Committee include: Rep. Dwight Takamine, chair, Rep. Bertha Kawakami, vice chair, and representatives Ben Cabreros, Willie Espero, Michael Magaoay, Bob Nakasone, Scott Saiki, Nathan Suzuki, Nobu Yonamine, Ron Davis, Charles Djou, Bertha Leong, Mark Moses, and Jim Rath.

Members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee include: Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chair, Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, vice chair, and senators Jan Yagi Buen, Jonathan Chun, Suzanne Chun Oakland, J. Kalani English, David Ige, Lorraine Inouye, Cal Kawamoto, Donna Mercado Kim, Norman Sakamoto, Rod Tam, and Fred Hemmings.

Also joining the delegation are representatives from the East Hawaii area, including Sen. Russell Kokubun, Rep. Jerry Chang, Rep. Eric Hamakawa, and Rep. Helene Hale.

Takamine said the committees are discussing the possibility of making similar visits to other areas of the State prior to the start of the 2002 Legislative Session.