HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Senate today passed House Bill (HB) 3, to provide emergency funding to the Kauai Regional Health Care System of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC).
HB 3 appropriates $7.3 million for fiscal year 2013-2014 to sustain the HHSC Kauai Regional Health Care System. The emergency funding will ensure that Kauai’s two critical access hospitals, West Kauai Medical Center and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, Kauai’s only inpatient psychiatric unit, long-term care operations and three physician clinics, will remain operational through the spring of 2014.
This measure is necessary to safeguard Kauai’s residents and visitors access to essential health care services,” said Senate Vice President Ronald D. Kouchi, who represents the islands of Kauai and Niihau. “I strongly appreciate the Ways and Means Committee chair, Senator David Ige, and the Health Committee chair, Senator Josh Green, M.D., for recognizing the critical need for this emergency appropriation and the three Kauai House of Representatives, James Kunane Tokioka, Dee Morikawa, and Derek Kawakami for their diligent work in aiding the passage of this measure.”
The measure will now be sent to Governor Neil Abercrombie for approval.
Members of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees, led by Senator David Ige and Representative Sylvia Luke, recently visited several Kauai sites and programs, many of which are supported by the Legislature. The visits provided committee members with the opportunity to receive updates on the status and progress of the various programs.
While on Kauai, Senators and Representatives visited the Waimea Russian Fort, Sunrise Capital Shrimp Farm, Kauai Community College, Waiakea Boat Ramp, Upper Kapahi Reservoir, Kauai’s Hindu Monastery, Kauai Community Correctional Center, Kauai Museum, Kauai Coffee, and Lihue Civic Center for separate meetings with KIUC and the Mayor.
The delegation included Kauai legislators Senator Ron Kouchi and Representatives James Tokioka, Derek Kawakami, and Dee Morikawa.
Senators and Representatives visit the Upper Kapahi Reservoir. (Photo Courtesy: Senate Committee on Ways and Means.)
Senators visit the Pohoiki Swim Area and Boat Ramp. (L-R: Sen. Laura Thielen, Sen. Michelle Kidani, Sen. J. Kalani English, Sen. Donna Mercado-Kim, Sen. David Ige, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, and Sen. Russell Ruderman.)
Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Hawai‘i Island Senators, and the Senate President conducted site visits across Hawai‘i Island. Led by Ways and Means Chair David Ige, Ways and Means Committee members, Hawaii Island Senators Malama Solomon, Josh Green, Gil Kahele, and Russell Ruderman, and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim toured and were updated on various programs, projects, and concerns.
While on Hawai‘i Island, Senators visited the Kona Airport, Judiciary Courthouse, Kona Community Hospital, UH Hawai‘i Community College Palamanui Site, Waimea Middle School, Puna Community Medical Center, Pahoa Public Library, Pohoiki Swim Area and Boat Ramp, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Research Labs, UH Hilo Student Housing, Old Hilo Memorial Hospital, and Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Modules. They also held a community informational meeting at the Waimea Middle School cafeteria.
The Hawai‘i Island visit is part of a number of statewide site visits the Senate Ways and Means Committee will conduct this interim.
Senators tour the Kona Community Hospital.
Senators hold a community informational meeting at Waimea Middle School.
(Photos Courtesy: The Senate Ways and Means Committee.)
Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law today measures critical to paying down the State’s unfunded liabilities and replenishing the hurricane and rainy day funds.
The Hawaii State Legislature worked collaboratively during the 2013 Session to fulfill its commitment to paying down the State’s unfunded liabilities pertaining to other post employment benefits. The Legislature made appropriations to begin payment to these unfunded health benefit liabilities through the State Budget with $100M for FY14 and $117.4M for FY15.
Currently, the unfunded liabilities for the employer-union health benefits trust fund is $13.6 billion.
House Bill 546, Relating to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF), will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to statutorily require payment of the annual required contribution for future public worker health benefits.
Paying down these liabilities will have a positive impact on the state’s bond rating and ensure that Hawaii’s future is not handicapped by increasingly burdensome debt,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “We have also set up a solid framework for future payments which demonstrates the legislature’s commitment to address the unfunded liability of the EUTF. “
The Governor also enacted two measures making general fund appropriations to recapitalize the State’s hurricane reserve trust and emergency and budget reserve funds, funds which were used to help balance the budget during the Great Recession.
During the Great Recession, as one of the alternatives to a general excise tax increase, we borrowed money from the hurricane fund and rainy day fund to balance the budget. We had always intended to repay those funds so that the proceeds would be available again for future contingencies,” explained Ige. “These bills demonstrate our commitment to recapitalizing those funds to build healthy reserves.”
Senate Bill (SB) 1094 makes a general fund appropriation of $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2013-2014 to recapitalize the hurricane reserve trust fund.
SB 1092 makes a general fund appropriation of $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2013-2014 to recapitalize the emergency and budget reserve fund.
Leaders Highlight Agreement on Several Significant Budget Items
Honolulu, Hawaii – The conference meeting to negotiate differences in the state budget between the House and Senate was held a week earlier than normal to allow more discussion time for conference members and avoid the last minute rush to act on other fiscal bills.
In his opening remarks today, Senate Ways and Means Chair, David Ige said, “This is an historic convening of the conference committee. I cannot ever remember beginning this early in the session on the budget. I would like to commend the House for its quick action and work in passing the budget over to the Senate early, and the Senate was inspired to do likewise.”
House Finance Chair, Sylvia Luke acknowledged the leadership of Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joseph M. Souki “in making it possible for us to start the conference meetings early.” Luke added, “Today we are not only ready to officially open conference meetings, we are ready to make significant decisions.”
Of the thousands of budget items facing the conference committee, two-thirds of them have already been agreed between what was contained in the House and Senate drafts of the budget.
Today, the chairs agreed to appropriate $100 million for fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and $117.4 million for FY2015 to begin payments on the unfunded liabilities. Currently, the unfunded liabilities for the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund is $13.6 billion.
We believe that paying down the State’s unfunded liabilities must be a priority and can no longer be left to discretion,” said Senator Ige. “Additionally, this will put the State at the leading edge of national efforts to address this issue.”
Also today, the committee agreed on appropriating about $1.2 million each year to the Charter School Commission. This appropriation would add 15 positions.
We both agreed to fully fund the Charter School Commission to ensure that they do have the resources to conduct the audits, to establish the performance contracts, to really do the public’s business to ensure that the public charter schools are capable of providing quality educational services to our children,” said Representative Luke.
The two sides also resolved differences on four other items today.
An allocation of $1 million to sustain the Hawaii Health Information Exchange (HHIE) contract for FY14. The HHIE is a local non-profit organization designated by the State of Hawaii to build the statewide health information exchange, a secure electronic network that allows health care providers to transmit patient medical information more efficiently.
Protection against invasive species by providing $750,000 in each of the next two years for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council. These funds will support a wide variety of invasive species prevention, control, and outreach projects across the state.
$4.7 million over the next biennium for risk management ensuring the state is adequately protected against catastrophic losses.
$700,000 for FY14 for the State Library System to purchase additional books, e-books, and other circulatory materials statewide.
Additionally, Ige and Luke highlighted some of the other notable budget items upon which there was agreement in the House and Senate budget drafts.
$1.2 million in special funds over the next biennium to fund seven new positions, including environmental health specialists and engineers. These positions will monitor watershed and surface water quality, the state water reuse and green house gas program, air pollution control programs and the enforcement of clean water regulations.
Approval of $126,400 for two juvenile parole officer positions on the neighbor islands which will help keep youth with their families instead of requiring them to relocate to the Oahu Youth Facility.
$135,000 to fund three animal disease inspector positions that will assist in controlling livestock diseases.
An appropriation of $327,000 over the next two years for the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and Facial Recognition System maintenance. This will enable all county law enforcement agencies to keep their systems running 24-hours 7-days a week.
$100,000 in general funds and $225,000 in federal funds to upgrade 120 emergency sirens around the state.
Support for veteran services by providing $870,000 for the next two years for five new counselor positions, burial service support, special housing for disabled veterans, and program operations.
$456,000 each year in federal funds for domestic violence prevention and support services.
An increase in the special fund ceiling by over $700,000 for eight new food sanitation inspector positions to address an increasing number of food safety violations on Oahu.
Over $2.2 million for both years to restore 32 custodial positions for the maintenance and upkeep of Honolulu International Airport. As the first and last place that visitors will see during their trip, it is important to create a pleasant impression for all visitors to Hawaii.
Nearly $81 million in FY14 for the repair and maintenance of our state highways.
The conference committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, Friday, April 12 in conference room 309 at 2:30 p.m.
House Finance and Senate Ways and Means Leaders Schedule to Meet on Thursday, April 11
Honolulu, Hawaii – House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige have announced that the first conference committee meeting on the state budget will be held on Thursday, April 11, 9:30 a.m. in room 309 at the State Capitol.
The conference committee meetings for the state budget are being held a week earlier than normal to avoid last minute rushes to get conference bills out for final vote.
“Both the Senate and the House moved quickly to get the budget moved out of their respective legislative bodies to get us into a position to negotiate differences a week earlier and allow for more discussion time. This also allows the public the opportunity to better follow the work of the conference committee,” said Representative Luke.
“We look forward to working with the House to make strategic investments in our community and provide a solid financial foundation for the State,” said Senator Ige.
The House Conferees are: Representatives Sylvia Luke, Chair; Scott Nishimoto, Aaron Johanson, Ty Cullen, Mark Hashem, Kaniela Ing, Jo Jordan, Bert Kobayashi, Nicole Lowen, Dee Morikawa, Richard Onishi, Gregg Takayama, James Tokioka, Justin Woodson, Kyle Yamashita, Beth Fukumoto, Gene Ward.
The Senate Conferees are: Senators David Ige, Chair; Michelle Kidani, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, J. Kalani English, Will Espero, Gilbert Kahele, Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Ronald Kouchi, Russell Ruderman, Laura Thielen, Jill Tokuda, Sam Slom.
In the latest installment of Senate Spotlight, Senator David Ige (Senate District 16- Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ‘Aiea, Royal Summit, ‘Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor) talks about his goals for the 2013 Legislative Session. Senator Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, discusses the State Budget and touches on several key areas of interest, including making strategic investments, the economy, moving government forward, restoring government services that promote the health and safety of our community, energy and food self-reliance and education.
Honolulu – The Senate Committees on Ways and Means and Higher Education will be holding two joint informational briefings to discuss employee salaries and student tuition at the University of Hawaii (UH) system. UH’s Board of Regents (BOR) has been requested to present at both briefings.
There are growing demands for state resources. A better understanding of how the university uses its money will help determine how state funds are allocated,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige.
We’re hoping to gain insight on the University’s processes and possibly look for ways of doing things better,” said Higher Education Chair Brian Taniguchi.
The first informational briefing will be held on Friday, February 1 at 9 a.m. in the State Capitol’s room 211. The BOR has been asked to present information on salaries and compensation inclusive of the following:
1. Policies and processes used to determine salaries;
2. Salaries of highly compensated positions;
3. Types of compensation and benefits awarded other than salary; and
4. Employee contract buyouts
The second informational briefing will be held on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 a.m., also in room 211. The BOR has been asked to present information on tuition inclusive of the following:
1. Policies and processes used to set tuition;
2. Tuition schedules from 2006 to 2017;
3. Amounts of revenue the tuition increases from 2006 to 2017 have and will provide the university;
4. Policies and processes used to determine how to allocate and spend existing and incremental increases in tuition revenue; and
5. The use of tuition revenue increases received for the past 6 years and the projected use of expected increases under the current tuition escalation schedule
On May 3, 2012, Senator Michelle Kidani, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate, offered the following remarks in support of House Bill 2012, the Hawaii State Supplemental Budget:
Thank you Mr. President. I rise in support of this measure.
This past year has been one of many, many challenges, especially in crafting a Capital Improvement Program that meets the needs of the State while balancing the fiscal considerations of an improving, but still fragile economic recovery. We know that now is the time for investment in our state’s infrastructure, while costs for materials and labor are still low, and the need for job creation has never been greater. I wish to thank Chair Ige for his leadership during this very long and tedious process and you for your guidance and letting me vent when needed. Also Mr. President, I would like to introduce and thank my staff member Will Kane without whose help we could not have completed the CIP budget.
In HB2012 CD1, we have taken the approach of investing in existing state facilities and infrastructure, especially those for education, technological innovations and facilities that will reduce the expenditure of taxpayer funds in the form of rent or lease payments.
Therefore, the HB2012 CD1 proposes a CIP budget for FY13 in the amount of $3.2 Billion, $826 million of which is funded by General Obligation or Reimbursable Bonds. It is important to note, that due to the recent refinancing of previously issued bonds and the savings realized from this and the proceeds from a bond issuance in a healthy bond market, and prior year project lapses, there are no additional payments for debt service on $350 million of the total amount appropriated. Also of note, this budget includes over $400 million of Repair and Maintenance projects included in the Senate’s Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 (SB 2012).
Highlights of the budget bill before us this morning include:
- $60 million for the department of Human services for renovations to our public housing.
- $135 million for the department of education facilities, to provide a 21st century learning environment in our aging schools.
- Almost $50 million for the department of Health to address critical health and safety needs.
- This budget also provides funding for projects across nearly every campus in the UH System, including funding to build:
– the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani CC,
– University of Hawaii Athletics Facilities
– a dedicated facility for the Academy for Creative Media Academy at UH-West O`ahu, and
– funding to continue construction of a new community college campus at Palamanui on the Big Island’s Kona Coast.
When crafting this budget, the utilization of currently under utilized state facilities was considered. An example of this lies right across the street from this building. The Kamamalu building has sat empty for years, while we spend millions in lease payments to private companies, instead of renovating our existing facilities. Therefore, HB 2012 CD1 has appropriated the funds that would allow this building to once again be used by our state agencies, which is the most responsible way to reduce escalating rental costs.
Lastly, Mr. President, the Senate’s Capital Improvement Program budget provides appropriations for projects across nearly every department. These include funding to create a statewide financial management system, renovate additional facilities for the Department of Health, and improvements to all airports, statewide. This will begin to address the concerns and needs of our visitors, which are the lifeblood of our economy,
In closing, I would like to again thank Chair Ige and my fellow members of the Committee for their support and hard work in crafting this budget, and I believe we all look forward to the positive impact this budget will have on the State.
This year the Legislature passed an $11.2 billion supplemental budget for the State of Hawaii, House Bill 2012. Following three years of budget cuts totaling more than a billion dollars each year, this year’s budget provided the Senate with a refreshing opportunity to reinforce the safety net where needed, reinstitute core services that have been decimated over the past three years, and make strategic investments in key areas that can help us grow the economy and sustain a more prosperous future for Hawaii. The chart above illustrates each State department’s funding allocation as appropriated through House Bill 2012.
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The views expressed on this website are those of the individual member and/or the collective members of the Hawaii State Senate Majority Caucus and do not represent the views, official policies or positions of, and should not be attributed to, the Hawaii State Senate or the Hawaii State Legislature.