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.
*Highlights of the budget include:
- $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
- $800,000 for additional funding to mitigate charter school commission costs.
- $134,802 for charter school per-pupil allotment
- $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.
- $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.
- 4 positions and $96,309 for the pesticides branch.
- $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.
- $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.
- 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.
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.
Posted by Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus