Statement from Senator J. Kalani English on the Release of $500,000 for New Lanai Community Health Center

Senator J. Kalani English today released the following statement on the release of $500,000 in capital improvement grant funds for a new Lana’i Community Health Center (LCHC) facility. Sen. English represents District 7, which includes Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe.

Rendering of the new Lanai Community Health Center

Floor plan of the of the new Lanai Community Health Center

“My colleagues and I worked hard to secure the $500,000 in the state budget to help fund the LCHC project.

“The people of Lana’i deserve a new center in a prime location to provide better access for those who need these types of necessary healthcare and dental services. With its larger design in a central location, more people in this remote area will receive care from top-notch professionals.

“The healthcare providers at LCHC have over the years showed their commitment to the people of Lana‘i. In fact, several of the Center’s doctors were named in Honolulu Magazine’s Best Doctors in Hawaii list. I also applaud the Center’s officials and staff on the work they have done to see this new facility come to fruition.”

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Statement from Senator Will Espero on the Release of $2 million for Improvements to Oahu Veterans Center

Senator Will Espero, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, issued the following statement today following the governor’s release of $2 million in capital improvement project funding for Oahu Veterans Center.

“My colleagues and I in the Legislature worked to include funding in the budget for Oahu Veterans Center because the center serves as a much-needed gathering place for veterans and the surrounding community.

“Our veterans served our nation with esteem and valor and as Independence Day nears, we remember to give thanks and to show our appreciation for those who served to defend our nation’s way of life. The Oahu Veterans Center goes a long way in improving the quality of life for our veterans and the community and I am pleased that the governor has released the funding.”

The funds will go towards the final construction phase of the center which includes a new meeting hall, improvements to the driveway and infrastructure for an air conditioning system and restroom facilities.

Oahu Veterans Center

The Oahu Veterans Center at Foster Village

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$19.5 Million Protects Lipoa Point from Development

Sen. Roz Baker today applauded the administration’s release of $19.5 million specified by the Legislature for the acquisition of Lipoa Point at Honolua in West Maui. The land will be preserved as conservation land in perpetuity.

During the 2013 session at the behest of Sen. Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey, lawmakers passed a bill (HB 1424, Act 241, SLH2013) for the acquisition of lands at Honolua Bay with the intent of protecting it from future development. In January 2014, $500, 000 was released to support activities supporting the land acquisition including title search, property appraisal and boundary surveys.

“Release of these funds means that the State is moving forward with purchasing acreage at Lipoa Point,” said Baker. “Rep. McKelvey and I fought to get the Legislature to include $20 million in its budget to fund this acquisition. These are pristine lands threatened by development.  As stewards of the aina, we had to make every effort to protect our natural resources for future generations.”

“Mahalo to the Governor for recognizing the importance of the timely acquisition of this precious resource to be preserved as conservation land in perpetuity,” added Baker. “And congratulations to all who advocated and stood with us to protect Lipoa Point.”

Senator Baker speaking on the floor during the 2014 legislative session

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Ewa Beach Schools to Receive $4.3 Million for Air Conditioning Upgrades

Students at James Campbell High School (JCHS) and Ilima Intermediate in Ewa Beach are set to have cooler days because of capital improvement project funds earmarked to make improvements to their school’s air conditioning system, announced Sen. Will Espero, who was instrumental in securing funding for the area.

The schools will receive a combined total of $4.3 million to help upgrade their cooling systems. Ilima Intermediate will get $1 million and JCHS will get $2.3 million for design and construction for school-wide heat abatement and air-conditioning upgrades; ground and site improvements; and equipment and appurtenances. JCHS will also receive $1 million for design and construction for electrical upgrades to existing facilities; ground and site improvements; and equipment and appurtenances.

“I worked with my colleagues to identify target areas in education, such as JCHS, that are high-priority and in dire need of funding to make necessary improvements,” said Espero. “Ewa Beach is notoriously known to be one of the hottest places on Oahu. These funds will help to make learning and teaching a lot more enjoyable for both teachers and students.”

“Kudos must also really be given to the students of JCHS and Ilima. Along with their teachers, they spoke up and advocated over the past two years about their uncomfortable experiences in classrooms over 93 degrees. They came and we listened. This is a great example of the democratic process.”

Before any work can begin, Governor Neil Abercrombie must release the money.

Senate District 1 on Hawai‘i Island to Receive Nearly $52 Million in Funding

Yesterday the Hawai‘i State Senate approved on final reading HB1700, the state supplemental budget bill, which includes nearly $52 million for Hawai‘i Island’s Senatorial District 1 consisting of South Hilo, including portions of Pauka‘a, Pi‘ihonua, Ka?mana, Wai?kea, and Keaukaha, represented by Senator Gilbert Kahele.

“I fought to secure funding for our district so that our communities are maintained and that we remain economically viable,” said Senator Kahele. “Funding these projects and programs improve the quality of life for our residents so that we can enjoy time with our family and friends. I am pleased that my colleagues and I were able to report a final compromise bill out of the money committees last week that benefits all of Hawai‘i and that the full Senate could agree on.”

Highlights of funding to Senate District 1 include:

OPERATING GRANTS AND FUNDS
$200,000              Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council
$2,000,000           Hilo Medical Center Primary Care Residency Program
$8,502,936           Foster Care Payment Rate Increases

ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES
$500,000              Lyman House Memorial Museum, construction of a new Island Heritage Gallery

DEFENSE
$2,000,000           Youth Challenge Academy, upgrade and renovation of Keaukaha Military Reservation

HUMAN SERVICES
$250,000              The Food Basket, Inc., repairs and maintenance

LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
$329,000              Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council, Botanical Garden

TRANSPORTATION
$500,000              Hilo Harbor, modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies
$1,000,000           Saddle Road Extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
$500,000              Puainako Street Widening

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I AT HILO
$33,000,000        College of Pharmacy, new instructional facility
$2,500,000           Astronomy, modernization and repair of 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea
$500,000              College of Agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, establish the Hilo International Flight Training Center

TOTAL
$51,781,936

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Compromise Leads to Legislature’s Approval of Over 135 Measures Ahead of Sine Die

Lawmakers pass fiscally responsible state budget bill supporting keiki, measures supporting kupuna and the environment, and flagship bills raising the minimum wage and funding the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement


The Hawaii State Legislature approved more than 135 on final reading ahead of the adjournment sine die this Thursday, including the state supplemental budget, measures supporting kupuna and protecting the environment, and flagship bills raising minimum wage and funding the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement. The measures will now be enrolled to Governor Neil Abercrombie for consideration. The Governor has until Monday, June 23 to notify the legislature of an intent to veto and until Tuesday, July 8 to sign.

“Through the diligence and efficiency of my colleagues in both the Senate and House, not to mention their willingness to compromise, we have passed key measures that support our workers, kupuna, keiki and environment,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim.

“Caring for our kupuna and protecting our environment was a priority of the legislature this year,” said Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “The four measures we passed will help fund preventive measures to care for our aina and seniors.”

State Supplemental Budget*

HB1700 includes funding for core services such as education, health, the University of Hawaii, human services, the environment, public safety, and supporting and caring for the lives of Hawaii’s people.

Through prudent money management, and in order to reflect a weak economic forecast, lawmakers reduced Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s executive budget request by $173 million in general funds over fiscal biennium 2013-15. The governor’s $200 million budget request for FY2015 was significantly cut down to $65.7 million.

Funding for capital improvement projects amounted to just over $5 billion, of which $2.3 billion is funded in general obligation (GO) or reimbursable bonds. This number includes the lapse and reauthorization of $339 million in GO Bonds for the State Educational Facilities Improvement (SEFI) Fund. The budget includes $40 million for grant-in-aid (GIA).

“We’ve had some challenges balancing the budget this session, especially with lower-than-expected tax revenue projections,” said Sen. David Ige, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, “but through the commitment of both Senate and House members to work together to balance the needs and concerns of everyone in our community, we were able to make the smart financial decisions to close the budget.”

Flagship Measures Passing Final Reading:

Increasing Minimum Wage

Senate Bill 2609 will boost the income of Hawaii’s lowest paid workers giving them more money to spend and invest, increasing economic activity and growth, while allowing them to care for their families. The final version of the bill increases the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the next four years. For workers who earn at least $7 more than the minimum wage, businesses can deduct a 75 cents tip credit. The current tip credit is 50 cents.

Preserving Hawaii’s Lands

House Bill 2434 will provide the $40 million needed to complete the agreement reached last week between the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, The Trust for Public Land, and Turtle Bay Resort (TBR) to establish a conservation easement on 665.8 acres of land at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku.

JOINT MAJORITY PACKAGE BILLS

Supporting Hawaii’s Kupuna

HB1713 SD2 and SB2346 SD1 HD2 supports Hawaii’s kupuna through funding of aging, long-term care and investor education programs.

Protecting the Environment

HB1714 establishes an interagency sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation committee under the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The final joint majority package bill, HB1716, which appropriates $5 million to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council for invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research, and planning, passed out of committee earlier this month.

Although the Senate passed out SB2478, a bill updating the chiropractic scope of practice, the House voted to recommit the both measures to committee. Both the House and Senate recommitted SB2799, relating the salary of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation Executive Director.

The Senate deferred a vote on HB1652, a bill establishing a 5-year pilot program at the University of Hawaii Hilo School of Pharmacy and a University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy Special Fund, until Thursday, May 1. And the House deferred vote on SB3065, the Dole land exchange bill, and until then as well.

Thursday, May 1, is adjournment sine die, the final day of the 2014 Legislative Session and the last day for the lawmakers to vote on measures. Senate will convene session at 11 a.m.

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*Highlights of the budget include:

Education

  • $15 million for the weighted student formula, which are funds given to schools based on enrollment and other factors.
  • $2 million for school athletics.
  • $1.925 million for Strive-HI performance system, which was designed to measure and better understand school performance and progress, and to help tailor rewards, supports and interventions for school improvement.
  • $600,000 for the educator evaluation system.
  • $579,208 for the professional development management system.
  • $256,000 for teacher induction and mentoring program.
  • $200,000 for a contract with Teach for America.
  • $3 million for early learning through the prekindergarten program.
  • $9 million to cover the shortfall in utility costs
  • $592,000 in general funds for sabbatical leave for teachers

Charter Schools

  • $800,000 for additional funding to mitigate charter school commission costs.
  • $134,802 for charter school per-pupil allotment

Public Libraries

  • $685,000 for electricity budget shortfall in libraries statewide.
  • $200,000 to increase security services at libraries statewide.
  • $600,000 to maintain computers and other technological services offered by Hawaii State Public Libraries System to patrons.

Health

  • $5 million for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
  • $2 million for the Hilo Medical Center primary care residency program.
  • $750,000 for Hawaii Health Information Exchange for operational and technical support. 

University of Hawaii

  • 89 positions and $4 million for the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus.
  • $1 million for community college outcome based funding.
  • $19.5 million in general funds for UHPA employees’ salary increases.
  • Increase of the special fund ceiling by nearly $46 million to support UH-Manoa campus operations and programs.
  • 50 positions to support UH community colleges operations. 

Agriculture

  • 4 positions and $96,309 for the pesticides branch.

Human Services

  • $5.5 million for foster care payment rate increase.
  • $500,000 for the REACH program.
  • $200,000 for Hawaii Health Information Exchange for Medicaid services.

Environment

  • $577,000 for operating expenses for conservation and resources enforcement officers.
  • 12 temporary positions and $800,000 for community fisheries enforcement units.
  • $100,000 in general funds and $3.9 million in special funds for the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation 2016 Congress. 

Public Safety

  • 10 positions and $259,930 for hospital and suicide watch posts.
  • 6 positions and $155,958 for hospital and suicide watch posts.
  • 20 positions and $786,718 for mental health treatment at correctional facilities.

CIPs

HB1700 provides nearly $900 million to fund projects that continue the progress begun over the last few years in renovating, repairing and maintaining existing state-owned facilities to utilize our current resources and reduce general fund expenditures in the future. Including:

  • $700 million for the Department of Education and $90 million for the UH system
  • Remainder allocated to hundreds of other projects, mainly in the Department of Health, DLNR and DAGS.
  • Major funding in the amount of $1.9 billion is provided to the Department of Transportation for highways, harbors and airports, including an additional $280 million for the new Mauka concourse at Honolulu International Airport.

HB1700 addresses future capacity needs and economic growth. Including:

  • Funding for the much anticipated UH Hilo College of Pharmacy in the amount of $33 million.
  • Allied Health and Administration Building for the growing UH West Oahu campus at Kapolei in the amount of $28 million.
  • Following last year’s major investment in technology infrastructure, the budget this year includes an investment of $100 million in state and matching federal funds for Kolea, the new eligibility system for public assistance programs.

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District 4 on Hawai‘i Island to Receive Almost a Half Billion Dollars in Capital Improvement Project Funding

Residents of the new North Hawai‘i Senate District 4 were assured they will receive a larger share back of the General Excise Taxes (GET) and Transient Accommodation Taxes (TAT) that this community generates as a result of the passage on final reading today of the 2014 Legislature’s supplemental budget bill, according to District 4 Senator Malama Solomon.

With the passage of this biennium budget (HB 1700 CD1), Sen. District 4 will receive close to a half-billion dollars in Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) — $380M in the first year of the biennium and $100M in this, the second year of the biennium budget, said Sen. Solomon.

District 4 includes Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikaloa, Puako, Kawaihae and North Kona.

 

“Up until these past three years, our large district has not received back a fair share of the revenue it generates. After more than 15 years of serious neglect, coupled with population growth and shifting economic and community priorities, our District’s public facilities – schools, parks, agricultural infrastructure, roads and hospitals – are aging and some are in alarming disrepair.  I am very grateful that we were able to secure the support of Senate and House colleagues to fund repairs and, in some cases, make dramatic improvements that will both create short term construction employment, and also enhance quality of life, protect the environment, and address serious health, safety and social needs,” said Sen. Solomon.

Highlights of CIP funding to District 4 include:

AGRICULTURE & FOOD SELF RELIANCE
$1.7M                   Waimea Irrigation System Improvements
$1M                       Lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project
$3.5M                   Waimea Homestead Community Agricultural Park (Waimea Nui)

EDUCATION
$9.89M                 Waimea Middle School (construction and equipment for a 9-Classroom Science-
Technology Building)
$1,7M                   Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana (construction of a new community recreation center emergency shelter that would double as a school-community cafeteria and recreation center)
$2M                       Honoka‘a Elementary School (construction of student drop off and parking area)
$2M                       Honoka‘a High School (athletic facility improvements)
$300,000              Kealakehe High School (construction of an all-weather and synthetic track)

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I AT HILO
$33M                     College of Pharmacy (a new instructional facility)

$2.5M                   Astronomy (modernization and repair of 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea)
$500,000             College of Agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (establish the Hilo International Flight Training Center)

HAWAIIAN HOMELANDS
$60,000                 Kailapa Community Association in Kawaihae (plan for a resource center)

HUMAN SERVICES
$250,000              The Food Basket, Inc. (repairs and maintenance)

HEALTH
$1M                       West Hawai‘i Community Health Center

LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
$200,000              Hawai‘i Island Humane Society (construction of the Hawaii Island Animal Community Center)

LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
$3,000,000           Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Structure Improvements and Dam Compliance
$8,000,000           Waimea District/Regional Park Plans (A 1:1 match with the County of Hawai‘i)

TRANSPORTATION
$1.9M                   Kona International Airport at Keahole (south ramp taxiway and ramp improvements)
$500,000              Hilo Harbor (modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies)
$2M                       Wai‘aka Stream Bridge replacement and realignment at Kawaihae Road
$2M                       Highway 130 and Homestead Road intersection improvements
$1M                       Saddle Road Extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway
$1M                       Sidewalk Improvements to Mamane Street in Honoka‘a
$1M                       Traffic Operational Improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Mamalahoa Highway
$6.2M                   Drainage improvements by Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Ranch Road
$4.5M                   Drainage improvements at Kawa
$810,000              Rehabilitation or replacement of Hilea Stream Bridge

Belt Road
$500,000              Rehabilitation or Replacement of Pahoehoe Stream Bridge
$4.9M                   Drainage improvements by Hakalau Bridge
$1.3M                   Rehabilitation or replacement of Ninole Bridge

DEFENSE
$2M                       Youth Challenge Academy (upgrade and renovation of Keaukaha Military Reservation)

TOTAL
$100.215M

 

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$800,000 in CIP Funds Awarded for Puna District Regional Library

The Hawaii State Legislature has appropriated $800,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the feasibility study, planning, and design components for a new Puna District Regional Library, acknowledging the values of reading, education, and lifelong learning that held in high regard by the residents of Puna. Currently, the Puna District currently has a shared library system that limits the availability of resources to residents of the district.

Senator Russell Ruderman identified the Puna Library as one of his top CIP priorities for 2014 stating:

“Libraries are a crucial link to literacy and learning which preserve the diverse cultural heritage here in Hawai‘i. We recognize the vital role that libraries play as cornerstones in our community, and this appropriation of $800,000 for the Puna District Regional Library will establish a welcomed community resource for the Puna District and neighboring areas. These services are especially critical for rural and economically challenged areas such as Puna, and will provide pathways to improve educational and economic status. The Puna District Regional Library will be a modern facility that goes way beyond books. It will include digital, A/V, e-book, and computer resources that will directly contribute to the health and wellbeing of children, teens, seniors, while serving the community as a whole.”

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Lawmakers Agree on Fiscally Responsible State Budget Bill

HB1700 emphasizes the Legislature’s commitment to education and Hawaii’s people


Key Senate and House conferees today concluded negotiations on the state budget bill, agreeing upon and passing a fiscally responsible $12.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2014-15. HB1700 includes funding for core services such as education, health, the University of Hawaii, human services, the environment, public safety, and supporting and caring for the lives of Hawaii’s people. The bill now goes to the full Senate and House for a final floor vote.

At the start of the 2014 legislative session, the Senate Ways and Means committee continued to remain cautious about spending given signs of slower economic growth, which would mean hundreds of millions of dollars less than expected over the next two years.

Midway through the session, on March 11, the Council on Revenues reduced its projected general fund tax revenue growth, from 3.3 percent to zero percent in FY2013-2014 and 7.4 percent to 5.5 percent in FY2014-2015. Combining this with the Department of Budget and Finance’s estimated reduction of general fund non-tax revenue growth, it’s projected that there will be a cumulative total of $491.8 million less in general funds over the current fiscal biennium.

Through prudent money management, and in order to reflect the weak economic forecast, lawmakers reduced Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s executive budget request by $173 million in general funds over fiscal biennium 2013-15. The governor’s $200 million budget request for FY2015 was significantly cut down to $65.7 million.

Funding for capital improvement projects amounted to just over $5 billion, of which $2.3 billion is funded in general obligation (GO) or reimbursable bonds. This number includes the lapse and reauthorization of $339 million in GO Bonds for the State Educational Facilities Improvement (SEFI) Fund. The budget includes $40 million for grant-in-aid (GIA).

“Although we are in better, yet cautious, economic times than past sessions, this year we were faced with many challenges, including lower revenue projections announced midsession,” said Ige. “My colleagues in the Senate and I worked diligently with our counterparts in the House to take this into consideration and balance the state budget through a financially responsible approach.”

“This is a budget that we can be proud of because we were able to balance the interest of the community with the availability of funds,” he added. “HB1700 emphasizes the Senate’s commitment to public school education, the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. The biggest winners this session are our keiki. We invested money in the weighted student formula, athletics, the Strive-HI program and UH collective bargaining agreements, among others.”

“One might have thought that assembling the construction budget in better economic times would be easier than in the immediate past, but this has not been the case,” said Sen. Michelle Kidani, vice chair of the WAM Committee. “Despite challenges, we crafted the CIP budget prioritizing two essential goals: continue the progress begun over the last few years in renovating, repairing and maintaining existing state-owned facilities to utilize our current resources and reduce general fund expenditures in the future, and designate funds for projects needed to address future capacity needs and economic growth.”

“We funded major projects for the DOE and UH system, the Department of Health, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Department of Transportation,” added Kidani. “Working with what we have, I think my colleagues and I did a good job in making smart financial decisions for our state and the people of Hawaii.”

Highlights of the budget include:

Education

  • $15 million for the weighted student formula, which are funds given to schools based on enrollment and other factors.
  • $2 million for school athletics.
  • $1.925 million for Strive-HI performance system, which was designed to measure and better understand school performance and progress, and to help tailor rewards, supports and interventions for school improvement.
  • $600,000 for the educator evaluation system.
  • $579,208 for the professional development management system.
  • $256,000 for teacher induction and mentoring program.
  • $200,000 for a contract with Teach for America.
  • $3 million for early learning through the prekindergarten program.
  • $9 million to cover the shortfall in utility costs
  • $592,000 in general funds for sabbatical leave for teachers

Charter Schools

  • $800,000 for additional funding to mitigate charter school commission costs.
  • $134,802 for charter school per-pupil allotment

Public Libraries

  • $685,000 for electricity budget shortfall in libraries statewide.
  • $200,000 to increase security services at libraries statewide.
  • $600,000 to maintain computers and other technological services offered by Hawaii State Public Libraries System to patrons.

Health

  • $5 million for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
  • $2 million for the Hilo Medical Center primary care residency program.
  • $750,000 for Hawaii Health Information Exchange for operational and technical support. 

University of Hawaii

  • 89 positions and $4 million for the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus.
  • $1 million for community college outcome based funding.
  • $19.5 million in general funds for UHPA employees’ salary increases.
  • Increase of the special fund ceiling by nearly $46 million to support UH-Manoa campus operations and programs.
  • 50 positions to support UH community colleges operations. 

Agriculture

  • 4 positions and $96,309 for the pesticides branch.

Human Services

  • $5.5 million for foster care payment rate increase.
  • $500,000 for the REACH program.
  • $200,000 for Hawaii Health Information Exchange for Medicaid services.

Environment

  • $577,000 for operating expenses for conservation and resources enforcement officers.
  • 12 temporary positions and $800,000 for community fisheries enforcement units.
  • $100,000 in general funds and $3.9 million in special funds for the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation 2016 Congress.

Public Safety

  • 10 positions and $259,930 for hospital and suicide watch posts.
  • 6 positions and $155,958 for hospital and suicide watch posts.
  • 20 positions and $786,718 for mental health treatment at correctional facilities.

CIPs

HB1700 provides nearly $900 million to fund projects that continue the progress begun over the last few years in renovating, repairing and maintaining existing state-owned facilities to utilize our current resources and reduce general fund expenditures in the future. Including:

  • $700 million for the Department of Education and $90 million for the UH system
  • Remainder allocated to hundreds of other projects, mainly in the Department of Health, DLNR and DAGS.
  • Major funding in the amount of $1.9 billion is provided to the Department of Transportation for highways, harbors and airports, including an additional $280 million for the new Mauka concourse at Honolulu International Airport.

HB1700 addresses future capacity needs and economic growth. Including:

  • Funding for the much anticipated UH Hilo College of Pharmacy in the amount of $33 million.
  • Allied Health and Administration Building for the growing UH West Oahu campus at Kapolei in the amount of $28 million.
  • Following last year’s major investment in technology infrastructure, the budget this year includes an investment of $100 million in state and matching federal funds for Kolea, the new eligibility system for public assistance programs.

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Senator David Ige Proposes Plan to Fund the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement

Proposal ensures protection and preservation of North Shore lands


 Hawaii State Senator David Ige has proposed a plan that would provide the $40 million needed to complete the agreement reached last week between the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, The Trust for Public Land, and Turtle Bay Resort (TBR) to establish a conservation easement on 665.8 acres of land at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku.

 “I have always been an advocate for the preservation of the North Shore community,” said Ige, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “I have been working with my colleagues in the Senate and believe we have a solution to fund the settlement agreement within the constraints of our budget.”

The proposed plan would restructure the debt currently owed on the Hawaii Convention Center. Ige’s proposal calls for $33 million of the transient accommodations tax (TAT) that currently goes to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to pay for debt services and operating costs to be restructured so that interest payments will be reduced from $26 million to $16 million. A portion of the interest savings from the restructuring would then be set aside to pay the interest for revenue bonds.

“We are proposing to authorize $40 million in revenue bonds in the budget and dedicate $33 million of the TAT that currently go towards the HTA in order to pay the debt services on that revenue bond,” Ige explained. “The plan is also an opportunity to expand our efforts to invest the TAT in core infrastructure and the preservation of natural resources in the State so that residents and visitors can see the direct impact of the TAT revenues.“

“Forty million is a significant amount of money,” added Ige. “To put it into perspective, it could fund construction of one and a half elementary schools. Through this proposal, we avoid having to cut funding from other important projects in our CIP budget while still investing in land preservation. I believe this is a solution that works within existing resources, is smart financing, and creates an opportunity for the state to avoid any additional appropriation, taxes or fees.”

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