The Hawaii Senate’s sole Republican has proposed an alternative biennium budget that would leave the state with a $741 million surplus in fiscal year 2015.

State Sen. Sam Slom, his budget director Paul Harleman and staff unveiled the Senate Minority budget today. It cuts government programs, vacant positions and does not rely on any future tax and fee increases.

The $22.15 billion two-year alternative budget is 7 percent less than Gov. Neil Abercrombie‘s proposed budget, 5 percent less than the version the House passed last month and roughly 6 percent less than the Senate version.

“You start talking budgets and people roll their eyes,” Slom said. “But this affects everyone.”

The senator said the surplus could be used to reduce the tax burden on businesses and residents to help with the high cost of living in Hawaii.

The budget would also contribute five times as much money as the administration, House and Senate have proposed to address the state’s $25 billion in unfunded liabilities. Slom said the alternative budget puts $500 million in each year to pay for these retirement and health benefits promised to thousands of public workers.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would get the state on track to fully fund its pension program within five years.

Slom said he hopes his colleagues take his budget proposal seriously as the legislative session comes to a head.

He said the full Senate is set to vote on its version of the budget Thursday, ahead of Tuesday’s second crossover deadline. But an agreement on the state budget won’t likely be reached till the end of April, just before session ends May 2.

For full details of the Senate Minority’s proposed budget, click here.

Nathan Eagle