HONOLULU - Using public money to pay for new church facilities. According to the latest budget amendments, two lawmakers want to blur the line between church and state.

Honolulu City Council Chairmen Ernie Martin and Joey Manahan want to spend $250,000 in taxpayer money for the expansion of the New Hope O'ahu church. The two added the request to their latest proposed budget amendments. Manahan's budget request explains the "CENTER OF HOPE" would include a 4-story parking structure, an expo center, a 400 seat auditorium and a dining café - among other things that would revitalize the Sand Island industrial area.

In a statement to KITV Manahan adds, "New Hope's funding request is still a proposal at this point that will be vetted publicly in the next round of Budget briefings. Benefits to the City include dozens of new parking stalls for public use at no charge; more revenue as the revitalization of the Sand Island industrial area generates new business activity for area businesses; and the stated mission of New Hope to fully engage in helping us manage our homeless crisis and housing shortage."

Council chair Ernie Martin released a statement to KITV saying there is precedent for the State funding church projects, "Among the more recent examples are Catholic Charities of Hawaii, the Salvation Army, St. Francis Healthcare Foundation of Hawaii, Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)."