Hawaii lawmakers finish session after huge federal aid boost

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Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi speaks at a podium at the state Capitol in Honolulu on Thursday, April 29, 2021, flanked from left to right by Sens. Kalani English, Jarrett Keohokalole, Michelle Kidani and Brian Taniguchi. Hawaii’s lawmakers are wrapping up a legislative session marked by a generous influx of federal aid that helped the islands weather the shock of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s lawmakers are wrapping up a legislative session marked by a generous influx of federal aid that helped the islands weather the shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers began the session in January with the news that Congress had appropriated $1.6 billion to Hawaii as part of a coronavirus relief package.

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The House and Senate used nearly half of the federal funds to pay back $700 million the state borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment insurance claims.

They appropriated $313 million to repay another loan the state took out to pay employee salaries when tax revenue tanked.

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