HOUSE AND SENATE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE FINALIZE NEGOTIATIONS ON THE STATE BUDGET BILL
Priorities include health and homeless services, additional ambulances
House and Senate conferees today approved a final version of HB1900 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill, which includes operating and capital improvement monies to run the state government. The bill puts a priority on appropriating funds for critical health and human service needs that will benefit our residents statewide.
House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke said this budget provides $15 million to fund homeless services, $3 million more than requested by the Governor, to allow the State the flexibility needed to take decisive action and systematically address long-standing problems in the community.
"Instead of dividing various amounts for separate programs, the state Homeless Programs Office needs the flexibility to decide where best to use the money. The state cannot be rigid, especially with our homeless population. It must be able to move funds around to take care of circumstances as they come up," said Representative Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nu‘uanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa).
The committee also agreed on funding $4.5 million to provide three new ambulances and staff for Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island and Honolulu; a $28 million operating subsidy for the Maui Health System; and $3.8 million in additional funds for the Kūpuna Care program and $1.2 million more for the Kupuna Caregiver Fund.
The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means conference committee worked quickly to close the budget a week earlier than scheduled.
On Wednesday, the committee passed Senate Bill 192 to provide $125 million in immediate disaster relief funding for Kaua‘i and other areas affected by recent destructive flooding. The state constitution requires that the budget bill be passed before other appropriation measures.
“We worked double time to pass disaster relief for those impacted by the floods and we were challenged to find the funding to adequately address the other critical needs of the state. But we were able to work together and what we presented here today is a good product that we can be proud of,” said Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho) Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.
At today’s hearing, the committee highlighted many budget items upon which the House and Senate reached agreement.
Department of Accounting and General Services
$163,425 for 3 positions and supplies to Central Services for maintenance and servicing of state cemeteries.
$150,000 to establish a motor vehicle replacement schedule for neighbor island school repair and maintenance.
Department of the Attorney General
$50,000 for Community Protection and Outreach.
Additional 2 positions and $500,000 for the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
$1,500,000 for the Excelerator Program to aid development of local businesses.
$500,000 for an Aquaculture accelerator initiative to help local startups in the aquaculture industry.
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
$1,210,906 federal grant spending ceiling and 2 positions to implement insurance market reforms and consumer protections for Insurance Regulatory Services.
Establishment of Deputy Securities Commissioner for Business Registration and Securities Regulation.
Department of Defense
$1,646,200 in general funds for renovation, repair, and maintenance projects at facilities statewide.
$95,000 for a director for the Hawai‘i State Fusion Center.
Department of Education
Additional $500,000 for the Early College program.
$500,000 to provide additional support to English Language Learners.
$4,500,000 and one position for Alternative Learning Centers.
$400,000 for the Teacher Certification Stipend Program to help increase the number of qualified public-school teachers.
$1,100,000 for the Alternative Teacher Route Program to help with recruitment and certification of potential public-school teachers.
$850,000 in general funds for athletic travel to provide students with the opportunity to compete in interscholastic athletic competitions.
Department of Human Services
$450,000 for the State Rent Supplement Program to provide housing support for vulnerable families.
$15,000,000 lump sum to fund homeless programs and services across the state.
$5,250,000 to Medquest to support online enrollment for Medicaid.
Department of Health
$28,000,000 in operating subsidy for Maui Health System.
$4,500,000 for (3) new ambulances, (1) each for County of Kaua‘i, County of Hawai‘i, and the City and County of Honolulu.
$3,877,063 in additional funds for the Kūpuna Care program.
$1,200,000 in additional funds for the Kūpuna Caregiver fund.
Department of Land and Natural Resources
$450,000 for the Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts to support environmental protection efforts.
$500,000 to support fire response activities for DOFAW across the state.
$800,000 to combat the spread of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death on the island of Hawai‘i.
$500,928 to establish a DOCARE training academy.
Department of Taxation
Funds for 6 additional investigator positions for the Special Enforcement Section.
Department of Transportation
$11,000,000 for replacement of the Wiki Wiki Shuttle bus fleet with electric vehicles.
$39,000,000 for Consolidated Rental Car Facilities at Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport and Kahului International Airport.
$11,000,000 for Special Maintenance Highway Projects, Statewide.
$500,000 for Safety Oversight on the Rail Project.
University of Hawaii
$300,000 for the Student Success Initiative to help support the wide variety of students and their individual needs at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
$300,000 for Rat Lungworm Research at Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.
$130,000 for 6.2 positions for the Health Sciences Academy at the University of Hawai‘i at West O‘ahu.
$260,000 to support the Apprentice Program at the University of Hawai‘i, Community Colleges.
$750,000 and 8 positions for student success initiative at University of Hawai‘i, Community Colleges.
The Capital Improvement Project portion of the budget includes about $800 million for Department of Education projects and an additional $40 million to finish construction of the new women's prison which will free up space at the overcrowded Oʻahu Community Correctional Center.
Capital Improvement Project Totals:
FY2018: $1.027 Billion General Obligation Bond Funds
FY2019: $734.4 Million General Obligation Bond Funds
FY2018: $2.289 Billion All Means of Financing Funds
FY2019: $2.369 Billion All Means of Financing Funds
HB 1900, the budget bill, will be voted upon by the Legislature next week and if approved, sent to the governor for his signature.
Budget worksheets detailing the appropriations in the overall Executive, Judiciary and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website athttp://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2018budget.aspx.