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Deep freeze in Hawaii

THE temperature dipped to a low of 68 degrees in Honolulu [on Feb. 7]. That could have been the subject of idle daydreams if we hadn't learned that under the formula for distributing federal low-income heating assistance funds, Hawaii gets a share of the money along with ... cold weather states....

``This is clearly an example of a federal grant program that should be better targeted,'' Leon Panetta, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told Thomson News Service....

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How could Congress let any money for this program, which could be a life-or-death matter for low-income people in ... cold states, go to Hawaii? Mr. Panetta said the administration will work with Congress to change the heating assistance formula, and that a new plan could be agreed on within six weeks.

Another problem, though, is that the heating assistance program could be cut almost in half for 1995 under President Clinton's proposed budget.

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