Senate budget chair releases funding proposal for federal COVID-19 emergency funding
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means Committee Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz today sent a memo to his Senate colleagues outlining a proposed spending plan for federal emergency funding available to the State of Hawai‘i for COVID-19 response.
“These allocations provide a responsible, prudent and conservative expenditure approach to meeting both statewide and county needs for COVID-19 response,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz.
Hawai'i has been given a total of $862,823,978 from the federal Corona Virus Relief Fund (CARES Act) to support the state and smaller counties. The state must pass through $175M to the counties of Kauai, Maui, and Hawai‘i, leaving about $688M for the State of Hawai‘i to allocate. A separate allocation of $387,176,021 was provided directly from the federal government to the City & County of Honolulu.
The proposal would allocate from the CARES Act:
• $40M to the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency for Attorney General enforcement, PPE, Payroll, and other department requests;
• $8M to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations for unemployment program enhancements, IT modernization, staff support, and appeals staff facility support;
• $2M for SNAP food benefit program IT improvements; and
• $1M for the “PUA” Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to provide unemployment support to independent contractors and gig economy workers not normally covered by unemployment insurance.
• The rest of the money, $637M, would be put into the state’s rainy day fund.
Hawai‘i also has $50M available through the federal Health Care Enhancement Act. The proposal would grant:
• $36M to the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation for thermal screening machines at the gates of all major airports statewide
• $6M to the Hawai‘i Department of Health for contact tracing and testing, vaccination staff, investigation and infection control, IT system, and data science branch
• $8M to the Hawai‘i Department of Health for personnel, contract workers, computers, personal protective equipment (PPE), media, lodging, and mass casualty supplies.
Additional details can be found in the attached memo sent to all Senators.
SB75 was advanced by the House Committee on Finance today. The Senate will deliberate on the proposal next week.