The Time Is Right to Invest in Hawaii

By Senator Brickwood Galuteria, Senate Majority Leader
Senator David Y. Ige, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Senator Michelle N. Kidani, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Oversees Capital Improvement Projects for the Senate

The time to invest in Hawaii’s future is now.  The Hawaii State Senate firmly believes this as evidenced by its recent unanimous and bipartisan passage of The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012, Senate Bill 2012.  This measure is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package that will create jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the State and can become available as soon as it is passed out of the House and the Governor signs the bill.

The need for capital improvements authorized by Senate Bill 2012 is great.  There is a backlog of over $1 billion in repair and maintenance projects for aging State facilities, from schools to hospitals. The measure aims to significantly reduce the repair and maintenance backlog list at 225 schools statewide and all 10 University of Hawaii campuses. The improvements will extend the useful life of State facilities and put people to work right away by fixing roofs and windows, and other basic essential repairs. The investment now will far outweigh the cost in the future, mitigating the need to fund replacements and reducing other future maintenance costs.

Making improvements to our State facilities now is cost effective. With Hawaii currently experiencing the lowest interest rates in recorded history, significant savings have accrued from the State’s most recent bond issuance.  Additionally, many bids for construction work are coming in significantly below budget.  According to an assessment from the University of Hawaii, repair and maintenance bids have come in about 18 percent below what was estimated over the past six months. This means taxpayers are currently getting an excellent value for construction projects now being implemented.

Another top priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint. For example, photovoltaic projects currently underway at 15 Kauai schools are expected to save the Department of Education an estimated $30 million over the life of the project while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Among the significant benefits of addressing the capital improvement needs contemplated in Senate Bill 2012 are the thousands of jobs that will be created for our unemployed and under-employed workers. While our economy is showing signs of stabilization, the unemployment rate is still high, at over six percent.  The construction industry has been particularly hit hard during the recession.  Hundreds of workers have been without a job for years. In Kona, times have been tough for 85 percent of its union members. Many are financially strapped; some face foreclosure.   Their counterparts statewide share in their struggles.

The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 will 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.  Small and large companies would be able to bid on jobs through an expedited State procurement process.  According to estimates by DBEDT’s job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.   That means jobs that will put money in workers’ pockets, which will in turn mean spending in our local economy.

This bill will benefit everyone as it gets our economic engine running again.  The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 creates a win-win situation for all.  The time is now to invest in Hawaii for our future.

 

Current Investments Lead to Future Savings

By Senate President Shan S. Tsutsui (D-Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia, Lower Paia)

If you had the option to shell out a dollar today, to help you save $10 tomorrow, would you do it? Would you spend money to save money?

Sound investments that spell big savings for the State are one of the numerous ways in which the Senate seeks to fulfill its vision of breathing new life into our economy, transforming the way we operate and building a better and more sustainable Hawaii.

As part of this vision, Senate Bill 2012, “The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012,” aims to help the Aloha State and its residents.  We need to get people back to work, while generating savings now and in the future.  SB2012 is an aggressive, $500 million general obligation bond-funded capital improvement measure that addresses repair and maintenance projects and is designed to create an estimated 5,000 jobs statewide.

By investing significant funds today, SB2012 allows the State to save money and generate revenue by fixing existing State buildings that are badly in need of repairs and are not being fully utilized. Instead of spending money to lease private properties elsewhere, addressing needed repairs would allow the State to use its vacant or underutilized buildings to house its own displaced employees. The projects contemplated include those that have been long deferred and must to be undertaken eventually.  Maximizing the utilization and extending the useful life of existing state-owned facilities will, in the long run, prove to be a priceless investment for Hawaii.

Additionally, there’s no better time to build. This bipartisan initiative takes advantage of today’s historically low interest rates, which makes current conditions favorable for companies and governments to borrow. The current supply-demand imbalance helps keep costs down by encouraging competition among companies vying for projects. In fact, delaying much-needed repairs to public facilities would unnecessarily increase a project’s price tag, since it would cost more to fix structures in the future when infrastructure damages worsen and drive up construction costs.

Another facet of the measure endeavors to decrease the long-term cost of government through the installation of energy efficient technology, which would allow the State to provide higher levels of services, all for a lesser cost. Understanding nature’s valuable benefits, the State is already moving forward with efforts to reduce the cost of school operations.  The Department of Education recently announced a contract for a pilot project for the installation of photovoltaic systems for 15 public schools. The agreement provides the State solar power without any up-front costs, and the third party providers will be afforded a mechanism to claim tax credits. It will ultimately save the State an estimated $30 million over the life of the project.  If the State were to similarly install PV systems at all 255 of our public schools, the State could realize a savings of over $500 million over the next 20 years. Efforts like these result in cost savings and a lesser drain on the State’s general fund resources – all while reducing our carbon footprint, which continues to be another priority of the Senate.

By investing in the types of projects included in SB2012, we’ll immediately help get our economy back on track and realize big savings in various ways. But most importantly, we’ll give our keiki a safer and better learning environment, provide our kupuna with better medical facilities, and improve state infrastructures for our residents and visitors.

Senate Passes The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012

HONOLULU–  The Senate unanimously passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 2012) today.  The bill will go to the House next for consideration.

Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, 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.

We are proud of this legislation, which has united all members of the Senate,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  “This bill will get our economic engine going and create much-needed jobs that will get thousands of people off the bench and back to work.”

With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

We have an opportunity to address long-standing needs in a cost effective manner.  Interest rates are at an historic low and bids for contracted work are currently coming in at discounted rates,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “The convergence of these factors makes now the opportune time to make an aggressive investment in our state’s infrastructure.”

Projects under consideration will focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities.  It will also include those that address health and safety code concerns.  A portion of Governor Abercrombie’s $300 million request for construction projects that are shovel-ready or address repair and maintenance concerns are funded by the measure.

The State departments currently identified as part of the Program are:  the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.  Funding will be allocated depending on each department’s needs and ability to commence work immediately.

Here are highlights of the funding:

–$150,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects and to address infrastructure needs, such as science and technology, electricity, and other utility infrastructure improvements, within the public school system.

–$3,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects within the Hawaii State Library system.

–$90,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

–$25,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects within the University of Hawaii community college system.

–$60,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Human Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.

In order to expedite the backlog of repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement processes.  As a result, the accelerated processes will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents.

This measure means that badly needed repairs and deferred maintenance projects that many state facilities have waited years to do can finally be given the green light to proceed.  Passing this legislation now would be an excellent way for us to create the needed jobs for our unemployed trade workers.  All companies, including small businesses, are encouraged to register with the State Procurement Office’s online system in order to be eligible to bid on projects,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.   “The process is fair and transparent with bids posted publicly for everyone to see.”

If the measure passes the House and the Governor approves the bill, projects could begin immediately.

For more information on the bill:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

Senate Committee on Ways and Means Passes The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012

HONOLULU–  The Senate Committee on Ways and Means today passed The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012, Senate Bill 2012, out of committee with amendments.  The bill will go before the full Senate for a floor vote next week.

Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, 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.

My colleagues and I felt that we wanted to do a flagship bill to put people back to work.  We felt that the best way to do it was to take projects that were already on the books, such as deferred repair and maintenance type projects that the departments had wanted for years and get them done.  We take care of the facilities and at the same time, put people back to work,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.

With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready jobs projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

We have an opportunity to address long-standing needs in a cost effective manner.  Interest rates are at a historic low and bids for contracted work are currently coming in at discounted rates,” said Senator David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “The convergence of these factors makes now the opportune time to make an aggressive investment in our state’s infrastructure.”

Projects under consideration will focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities.  Projects will include those that address health and safety code concerns.  The State departments currently identified as part of the Program are:  the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.  Funding will be allocated depending on department needs and ability to commence work immediately.

Here are highlights of the funding:

–$150,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects and to address infrastructure needs, such as science and technology, electricity, and other utility infrastructure improvements, within the public school system.

–$3,000,000 for repair and maintenance projects within the Hawaii State Library system.

–$90,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

–$25,000,000 for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects within the University of Hawaii community college system.

–$60,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Department of Human Services.

–$40,000,000  for repair and maintenance projects of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.

In order to expedite the backlogged repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement process.  As a result, the accelerated process will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents.

If the measure passes the House and the Governor approves the bill, projects could begin immediately.

For more information on the bill:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

Hawaii State Senate Introduces Bipartisan Bill Aimed at Stimulating Economy

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Senate is united in support of Senate Bill 2012, which will be formally introduced and referred to its respective committee during Session this morning, Friday January 27, 2012.   Garnering bipartisan support, Senate Bill 2012, also known as “The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012,” is an aggressive general obligation bond-funded $500 million Capital Improvement Program (CIP) package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state, from Hilo to Hanalei.

With Hawaii experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will create shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.  According to conservative estimates by the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s  (DBEDT) job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain up to 4,000 direct jobs.

Investing now in needed State capital projects will have a direct positive impact on our economy.  With interest rates at a historic low, there has been no better time to make a significant investment in our State’s infrastructure, said Sen. David Y. Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Projects to be considered should focus on smaller repair and maintenance projects to address aging infrastructures and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities.  Projects should also include those that address health and safety code concerns.  State departments that have been identified as part of the Program are:  the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawaii, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health, and health care facilities of the Hawaii Health Systems, the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.  Funding will be distributed depending on the individual department’s needs and ability to commence work immediately.

Another priority of the bill is to develop sustainable and energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology.  Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint.

This bill encourages the use of energy efficient materials whenever possible in the projects.  It’s important that we invest in alternative energy throughout our State facilities now to save tax payers money in the future,” said Sen. Michelle Kidani, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

In order to expedite the backlogged repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 would make revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement process.  As a result, the accelerated process would get workers off the bench and on the job immediately, putting more money in workers’ pockets.  With this jolt in the economy, the safety net would be improved and a wide range of social and educational services would be provided.

“The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012” is expected to be heard by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means in the upcoming weeks.

For more information on Senate Bill 2012 go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

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