Guarding the transition

Well, at our advanced age, it is time to admit it:

We are naive. We are always surprised by the games our state Legislature plays. This year, the money to complete the transition of Maui’s public hospitals to a public-private partnership with Kaiser in July was missing from the House’s version of the next state budget.

Our favorite legislator, Speaker Joe Souki, swore in a story in Wednesday’s paper that the money would be restored. Sure enough, Thursday a Maui News story reported the Senate version of the budget has $33.4 million for the transition in fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The question remains, though: Why wasn’t the money in the House budget? Did somebody forget it — or was it deliberately deleted?

Now, folks, this is not a new item. This transition has already been delayed one year. Stripping those funds from the budget could have had deadly consequences for Maui’s hospitals. It is a REALLY BIG DEAL to the citizens of Maui County.

The disappearing money reminds us of the troubled funding of the South Maui high school. The money for that imaginary facility keeps disappearing. Two decades into the process, a blue sign along the Piilani Highway is the only visible indication that the facility is in the works.

As important as the new high school is to our county, our medical facilities are even more so. We’d urge our legislators to sit on the Senate version of the budget with a shotgun. Don’t let any of those folks who keep stealing the money for our school anywhere near the dough for our hospitals’ transition.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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