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Senator Michelle Kidani’s Floor Remarks on House Bill 2012, the Hawaii State Supplemental Budget

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.

To view video click here.

Senator David Y. Ige’s Floor Remarks on the Executive Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2012

On May, 3, 2012, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair David Y. Ige offered the following remarks in support of House Bill 2012, the Hawaii State Supplemental Budget:

Mister President, I rise to speak in favor of this measure, the executive supplemental appropriations act of 2012.

This measure is the product of the positive and collaborative efforts set forth by members of this Legislature, the executive branch of government, and numerous members of the public.

Colleagues, I thank all of you that have contributed and supported the Senate’s efforts to develop a responsible expenditure plan, especially my Vice Chair, the members of the Ways and Means Committee, and yourself, Mister President.

Additionally, I also appreciate House Finance Chair Oshiro and his tireless efforts to work with me to finalize the State budget. The Chairman has become fond of the saying in the heated crucible of negotiations, “iron sharpens iron.” Mister President, at this point, the Legislature must have two fairly sharp money Chairs at its disposal.

This session marks the first in years that we were not faced with addressing a deficit exceeding a billion dollars. Nonetheless, challenges remained. The budget submitted by the Governor was premised on general fund revenue growth projections that the Council on Revenues has since substantially reduced, and many worthy programs could not be funded at desired levels.

However, this budget does allow us to strengthen core government services that have been diminished over the years. The governor’s initial supplemental budget request included over $100 million to strengthen the safety net, support public education, and maintain essential services across the State. Colleagues, the measure before you is responsible and responsive to the Governor’s requests and initiatives.

The governor’s requested budget includes funding to significantly improve the infrastructure for information technology (IT) throughout state government, an area in which the Senate has led by example. This measure includes more than $25 million dollars that will be administered by the office of information management and technology (OIMT) for critical IT projects that will support increased efficiency in the transformation of state government.

The budget before you strengthens the safety net, and includes additional funds for child welfare, domestic violence shelters, Medicaid, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services. Additionally, $18.2 million provided for the temporary assistance for needy families program and another $3.6 million for information technology initiatives to modernize the Department of Human Services.

Education is a top priority of the Legislature. This measure underscores this by adding over $40 million to the Department of Education’s budget. The funds provided focus on key areas of investment in education, including more funding than requested by the Governor for the weighted student formula and student meals, and fully funding the Governor’s requested budget for the community school for adult program and student transportation.

Following significant evaluations of the Charter School system, this Legislature has a measure rewrite the charter school law. To ensure equal appropriations for the public schools as the charter schools, about $1 million dollars is provided through this measure and charter school legislation to develop and implement a transition plan and provide equal per pupil operating funding for charter school and regular education students.

Finally, one of the Governor’s key initiatives is the protection of priority watersheds. This measure recognizes the importance of protecting the State’s water resources and provides $5 million for this purpose.

The conference draft of this Supplemental Budget moves the State forward by protecting safety net services, strengthening funding for education, and making strategic investments that will advance our economy.

This budget is in line with that proposed by the Governor, and calls for an addition of just $1.4 million in general funds to the executive supplemental budget request, as adjusted for governor’s messages, for fiscal year 2013.

Colleagues, I commend each of your efforts that have helped bring us to this point and thank you for your support of this measure and the important issues it represents.

To view video click here.

Hawaii State Senate Stays the Course in 2012 Legislative Session

Job Creation, Education, Shoring up the Safety Net and Improving IT Infrastructure

HONOLULU –  The Hawaii State Senate adjourned on this final day of the 2012 Legislative Session, passing many bills in support of its priorities set forth at the beginning of the session.  Throughout the second year of the legislative biennium, the overarching themes and priorities of the Senate were in alignment with Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawaii.”

We advanced important measures with the citizens of Hawaii in mind, hoping to make our State a better place to live for everyone now and in the future,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.

I commend everyone in the Legislature for their hard work this session and I thank those who came to be part of the process and let their voices be heard,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

The Senate Majority, whose members are Democrats, remain committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii.  Here are highlights of the Senate Majority’s accomplishments:

 

Job Creation & Creating a Sustainable Economy

Although Hawaii is experiencing a steady economic recovery, many people are still unemployed or under-employed, especially in the construction and trade industry.   Realizing this grim reality, the Senate made job creation and creating a sustainable economy a top priority through its flagship initiative, The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012.  To accomplish this goal, the Senate was able to include in excess of $414 million for repair and maintenance projects in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) portion of the budget for fiscal year 2013, pursuant to House Bill 2012.  The funding will allow for the creation of more than 4-thousand shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants, and help put money in workers’ pockets and give companies confidence to begin hiring again.

The projects will focus on smaller repairs and maintenance to address aging infrastructures and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities; energy conservation and sustainable improvements; and health, safety and code requirements.  Not only the state departments, but everyone in the State will benefit from this funding.  All trades in the construction industry will prosper, as well as businesses that provide goods and services to the industry.

Highlights of the funding are provided as follows:

The Department of Education will receive $296M in FY13, including $116M that has been appropriated for classroom renovations and school building improvements to address the departments’ repair and maintenance backlog, $10M for electrical upgrades to support the rapidly evolving technology that is imperative to keep students competitive in the global economy, and $30M in various lump sum appropriations for schools throughout the State to address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, health and safety and special education needs.

For the University of Hawaii, over $80M was appropriated for capital renewal and deferred maintenance as well as health, safety, and building code requirements, System wide. Additionally, to address significant growth in student enrollment at the community colleges, an additional $27.5M was provided to the community colleges, as well as $10M for Kapiolani Community College to begin construction of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

Additionally, over $60M has been provided for Hawaii Public Housing Authority to continue to upgrade its units and help to shelter low-income families; $35M has been appropriated for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to help tackle the repair and maintenance needs at community hospitals statewide; $26M has been provided to the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources to allow them to continue their efforts to maintain the State’s irrigation systems, as well as rivers, reservoirs and dams statewide, including $1.1M to upgrade, repair and reinforce the Hanalei River breach which was made worse by the recent heavy rains.

Finally, to shore up our safety net, many community programs run by non-profit organizations were provided a total of $20M to assist them in the continuation of services and programs throughout the State.

To further continue supporting our top industry, strategic investment was made in our tourism industry through Senate Bill 490.  The measure develops and implements new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the State, taking advantage of an executive order signed by President Obama to ease access for international travelers.  The expanded visa programs would help provide up to an estimated 154,000 jobs in Hawaii. China in particular is a rising market for Hawaii’s tourism industry, with unprecedented growth potential.

Looking ahead into the future of tourism, the Senate supports an emerging market, such as Space Tourism, which has the potential of being a billion dollar global industry that could significantly increase state revenues, provide new aerospace jobs, and rejuvenate economic development in the Kalaeloa area.  The ground work for the industry is established through Senate Bill 112, which appropriates funds for the application for a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

People and Children

As a result of our State’s steady economic recovery, the safety net continues to need strengthening. There are many who still suffer job loss and significant wage and benefit reductions.  The Senate Majority is mindful of the struggles of Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens and supports efforts to assist them.  Child welfare, domestic violence shelters, MedQuest, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services were addressed in the State Budget, House Bill 2012.

Additionally, since the closure of Hawaii Medical Center-West, hospitals on Oahu are faced with an increased volume in patient admittance.  The Senate provides support for the hospitals system through House Bill 304.

With the growing demand of health care, Senate Bill 2939 appropriates funds for the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, formerly known as Hawaii Medical Center-East to improve its facilities and services in the interest of the health, safety, and wellbeing of residents.

The Senate also continues its strong support for education. Notably, the Senate has underscored education as a top priority.  Through the State Budget, key areas of investment were made in the student weighted formula, student meals, Community Schools for adults and student transportation.

To strengthen Hawaii’s Charter School system, Senate Bills 2115 and 2116 increase accountability in the governance of Hawaii’s Charter schools that will foster improved student outcomes.  Senate Bill 2115 establishes clear lines of authority and clarifies the relationships, responsibilities, and lines of accountability among stakeholders of Hawaii’s Charter School System.  Senate Bill 2116 appropriates funds to help with the transition.

The Senate believes early life experiences lay the groundwork for a child’s lifelong learning and providing high quality early learning programs that are affordable and accessible for all children are critically important for ensuring the success of Hawaii’s keiki.  Working in concert with the Governor’s Early Childhood Education Initiative, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2545, which establishes the Early Learning Council and the Early Learning Advisory Board.

Renewable Energy and Sustainability

The Senate Majority strives to make Hawaii a model for the rest of the country by continuing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.   Reducing electricity costs depends in part on diversifying the energy sources within the State.  Geothermal energy is a solid source of indigenous, renewable energy that could be made available at low costs. Senate Bill 2001 requires consultation and input from the Native Hawaiian community and general public when developing geothermal projects on public trust lands. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 3003 allows geothermal resources exploration and development in all state land use districts and all zones of the conservation districts, respectively.  Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 3003 into law in April.

With our State’s dependence on imported foods and threat to our food security, Senate Bill 2695 establishes a livestock feed feasibility pilot project to help address the rising cost of feed and explore ways to increase the sustainability of our local protein sources.  Self-sufficiency is critical to Hawaii’s food security and ability to respond effectively in the event of natural disasters or disruptions in transportation.

Retooling Government 

In the area of technology, the Senate calls for investing in the State’s information technology (IT) infrastructure in order to improve government and to better serve the public.  The investment in IT upgrades aims to increase productivity, making government more efficient.  The State Supplemental Budget, House Bill 2012, makes significant investments in software upgrades, integration in information technology, and modernization of database and records, to name a few.  Hawaiian Homelands, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Accounting and General Services and Human Services are some of the departments that will be receiving IT upgrades.

The Senate also supports the Governor’s broadband initiative to improve services and to ensure that each and every citizen has access.  The initiative is supported by Senate Bill 2236, which assists Clearcom or a partnership headed by Clearcom, Inc., with the planning, designing, constructing, and operating of broadband infrastructure throughout the State.

 

Other Notable Bills:

House Bill 608, Relating to Health, Act 1 (2012)

Governor Abercrombie signed House Bill 608 (Act 1) into law in February. The measure appropriates state funds to The Queen’s Medical Center to perform kidney and liver transplants and to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai’i to maintain its chronic kidney disease management program.  Act 1 helps ensure that organ transplant patients are able to remain in the islands and receive efficient and timely care.

Senate Bill 2783, Relating to the Public Trust Lands, Act 15 (2012)

Senate Bill 2783 conveys Kaka‘ako Makai lands to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).  The State and OHA agreed that an approximately $200 million settlement represents a reasonable compromise of the

disputed claims.  To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kaka‘ako Makai.  Under this law, all disputes and controversies relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands will be extinguished and discharged as well as bar all claims, suits, and actions for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012. Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 2783 into law in April.

Senate Bill 2776, Relating to Public Safety

After an unprecedented collaboration between the Governor, Chief Justice, Senate President, House Speaker and Director of Public Safety, a data-driven justice reinvestment strategy was created to bring out-of-state prisoners back to Hawaii, reduce spending on corrections, and reinvest savings generated in strategies that would reduce recidivism and crime and increase public safety.

One of the outcomes of the Justice Reinvestment Initiatives was the passage of Senate Bill 2776.  The measure establishes a statutory structure to improve the criminal justice system, relying on the Department of Public Safety, Hawaii Paroling Authority, and Adult Probation Services to effectively implement changes to policies and practices.

Senate Bill 2247, Known as Kelsey’s Law, Act 94 (2012)

Senate Bill 2247, which was signed into law by Governor Abercrombie in April, will require cell phone or communication service providers to assist law enforcement agencies in determining the location of a cell phone in emergency situations.  The bill was named in honor of Kelsey Smith, an 18-year-old Kansas woman who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 2007. It is believed that if Verizon Wireless had turned over cell phone records on the day Smith was kidnapped, she may be alive today.

House Bill 2030, Relating to Emergency Vehicle; Move Over

House Bill 2030 requires motorists to move over and slow down their vehicles when passing a stationary emergency vehicle on a highway.  If this measure becomes law, a violation against it will result in a civil fine, which will not impact the driver’s car insurance rates.

Budget Highlights

Senate and House Conferees passed House Bill 2012, relating to State Budget, early Saturday morning.  Here are highlights of the $11.2 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 2012-2013:

Human Services

$22,880,786 MedQuest
$18,191,515 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
$6,880,719 childwelfare

Department of Education

$14,000,000 Student Weighted Formula
$25,000,000 Student Transportation
$2,5000,000 Adult Education

Agriculture

$1,331,952 Plant Quarantine Inspectors
$169,859 Food Safety Inspectors

2012 Opening Conference Remarks on the Hawaii State Budget

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the Senate and House opened conference on the Hawaii State Supplemental Budget with comments from Senate Committee on Ways and Means Committee Chair David Y. Ige. House Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro also offered remarks.

With a notable 438 out of 620 budget worksheets already agreed upon by both sides of the aisle prior to the first day of the Conference, Senator Ige reflected that this year’s conference on the State Budget encompasses significantly more agreements between the Senate and the House.

I would like to say that this is a New Day. We do appreciate the hard work of the administration to really stop the practice of kicking the can down the street…We don’t have to wonder what the true status of our budget is because we stopped paying bills or we’ve denied payments or we’ve stopped tax refunds,” said Senator Ige. “I look forward to working through this Conference period to iron out the 30 percent of differences as we work to conclude the Budget.”

The Senate’s version of the 2012 Supplemental Budget seeks to move the State forward by shoring up safety net, significantly improve the infrastructure for information technology, invest in education and make strategic investments that will advance our economy.

To view Senator Ige’s remarks click here.

Senate Advances Bills Supporting Job Creation, Economic Recovery and Restoring the Safety Net

HONOLULU — Ahead of Thursday’s Second Crossover deadline, the Hawaii State Senate advanced several bills today that align with its 2012 Legislative Session priorities: job creation, economic recovery and restoring the safety net. The overarching themes and priorities set forth also align with Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawaii.”

Creating jobs and putting people back to work has been critically important to the Senate. The Senate passed House Bill 2145, which includes the Senate’s flagship initiative, known as “The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012.” The measure is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.

The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 would give a big boost to the economy and put people to work by appropriating funds for shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants. The measure would appropriate funds for much needed repair and maintenance projects that would extend the useful life of our aging facilities and infrastructures. According to estimates by DBEDT’s job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

With construction bids coming in below estimated costs and interest rates at historic lows, money allocated for state construction projects has never gone further. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to make significant reductions to the state’s repair and maintenance backlog,” said Sen. David Y. Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

The Senate today also passed its version of the $11 billion supplemental budget for the State of Hawaii, House Bill 2012. The Senate’s version of the budget is both responsible and responsive to the governor’s budget requests. Most of the governor’s initiatives have been funded as they pertain to maintaining the safety net and restoring the ability of government to perform necessary functions.

As a result of the mild economic recovery, the safety net could be strengthened. Additional funds for child welfare, domestic violence shelters, Medicaid, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services were included. Additionally, $18.2 million were directed to the temporary assistance for needy families program and $3.6 million to information technology initiatives to modernize the Department of Human Services.

The Senate also continues its strong support for education. Notably, the Senate has underscored education as a top priority by adding $44 million to the Department of Education’s budget. Specifically, the Senate’s budget focuses on key areas of investment in education, including: the weighted student formula, student meals, the community school for adults program, early learning and student transportation.

In the area of technology, the Senate calls for investing in the State’s information technology (IT) infrastructure in order to improve government and to better serve the public. The investment in IT upgrades aims to increase productivity, making government more efficient. The governor’s budget includes funding to significantly improve the infrastructure for IT throughout state government, an area in which the Senate has led by example. The Senate’s budget includes more than $27 million dollars for critical infrastructure IT projects that will support increased efficiency in the transformation of state government. The Senate also supports the governor’s broadband initiative to improve services and deployment of broadband to ensure that each and every citizen has access.

The Senate passed 197 measures today, which includes bills and resolutions.
For more information click here.

The Maui Senatorial delegation offered the following comments on House Bill  2145:

I encourage our colleagues in the House to seriously consider this measure because interest rates are at an historic low and there is no better time to make a significant investment in our state-owned facilities,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents District 4, encompassing Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia and Lower Paia.

This bill puts investment toward renewable energy and information technology upgrade initiatives throughout our schools, hospitals, and office buildings, which will lead to future cost savings and a reduction in the State’s carbon footprint,”  said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents District 6, encompassing Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

All businesses will benefit from this bill.  We encourage any company, including small businesses, to register with the State Procurement Office’s online system in order to be eligible to bid for projects.  The process is totally transparent and open- with bids posted publicly for anyone to see,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents District 5, encompassing South and West Maui.

 

 

WAM Chair Describes Key Aspects of the Senate’s Draft of the State Budget


Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means unanimously voted to pass the Senate’s version of the $11 billion supplemental budget for the State of Hawaii, House Bill (HB) 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 Senate’s version of the budget is both responsible and responsive to the governor’s budget requests. Most of the governor’s initiatives have been funded, as they pertain to maintaining the safety net and restoring the ability of government to perform necessary functions.

The governor’s budget includes funding to significantly improve the infrastructure for information technology (IT) throughout state government, an area in which the Senate has led by example. The Senate’s budget includes more than $27 million dollars for critical infrastructure IT projects that will support increased efficiency in the transformation of state government. The Senate also supports the governor’s broadband initiative to improve services and deployment of broadband to ensure that each and every citizen has access.

The Senate also aims at strengthening the safety net, including adding funds for child welfare, domestic violence shelters, Medicaid, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services, including an additional $18.2 million directed at the temporary assistance for needy families program. In addition the Senate is supporting $3.6 million for information technology initiatives to modernize the Department of Human Services.

Notably, the Senate has underscored education as a top priority by adding $44 million to the Department of Education’s budget. Specifically, the Senate’s budget focuses on key areas of investment in education, including: the weighted student formula, student meals, the community school for adult program; early learning, and student transportation.

Following significant evaluations of the Charter School system, the Legislature has a measure this year to rewrite the charter school law. This is also reflected in the Senate budget. To ensure equal appropriations for the public schools and the charter schools, the Senate added about $1 million dollars to assist in the transition plan and its implementation, as well as equal per pupil operating funding based on project enrollment.

After years of neglect in our public libraries the Senate appropriated $500,000 for e-books, books, and other circulatory materials for our state libraries. This is the first appropriation for new circulation materials in the last four years.

The Senate’s version of the 2012 Supplemental Budget seeks to move the State forward, protect safety net services, and make strategic investments that will advance our economy.

To view video click here.

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