Did you know the state plans to spend $27.6 million this year on overtime costs alone for public employees?
Or that $103 million has been budgeted for nearly 3,000 vacant positions?
What about Hawaii spending twice as much on welfare programs now than it did six years ago?
All of this information — and so much more — is available in a couple clicks with a new online tool that the Senate and House minority caucuses unveiled Wednesday.
Sen. Sam Slom gestures while questioning Mayor Kirk Caldwell at Ways and Means meeting at the Capitol room #211. 4 march 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Dubbed the Hawaii Open Budget Initiative, the goal is to make the state budget more transparent and useful to the public.
There are multiple categories and ways of manipulating the data in colorful charts that make it much more accessible. Considering the operating budget alone is $13 billion, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers.
“State departments and agencies are required to disclose information, but they usually publish information in static format, like in a PDF,” Sam Slom, the Senate’s sole Republican, said in a release. “With the Hawaii Open Budget site, people will for the first time be able to work with the numbers to create their own version of the budget and envision their ideal state economy.”
Rep. Gene Ward, one of seven GOP members in the House, said the state keeps the budget close to its chest like a poker player.
“With this budget website, all bets are off the table and the people of Hawaii win,” he said.