It's 11:30 a.m. and the House is voting on the HB2500, the executive budget bill. Rep. Marcus Oshiro, chairman of the Finance Committee provided these top five reasons to vote for the bill:
Number 5: This budget prioritizes education.
This budget provides 155% more money than the Governor provided for the repair and maintenance of our schools. The Governor included $26 million; while this budget provides $66.4 million.
This budget provides 42% more than the Govenor provided for the repair and maintenance of University of Hawaii facilities. The Govenor provided $50 million while this budget provides $71.2 million.
This budget provides a total of $57.7 million for the charter schools. That's $1.6 million more thanthe Governor provided in her budget and $6.1 million more than they are currently receiving.
Number 4: This budget prioritizes health and human services by providing:
$10 million for adult mental health;
$4.3 million for Emergency Medical Services;
$1.1 million for the Hawaii State Hospital
$5.7 million to draw down $7 million in federal funds for our hospitals that care for the uninsured;
$585,000 to insure that State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) coverage for children is protected from impending federal budget cuts;
$26 million for the completion of the Kukui Gardens purchase, thereby protecting its tenants from becoming homeless;
$3.8 million for homeless services for Bldg. 36 in Kalaeloa, Kahikolu in Waianae, and other existing services;
$15 million in general obligation bonds to the Rental Housing Trust Fund; and
$10 million in general obligation bonds to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund.
Number 3: This budget prioritizes public safety by providing:
$240,000 for the Department of Justice compliance issues regarding mental health services at our prisons;
$271,000 for the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility to maintain compliance with their Department of Justice Memorandum of Agreement.
Number 2: This budget ensures that the Governor can release appropriations held hostage by the Governor.
112 GIA applicants with grants totaling approximately $9 million in Operating Funds and $24 million in CIP funds that were appropriated last year still wait for their money to be released by the Governor. Why haven't the monies been released for: the Honolulu Symphony, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, Easter Seals or the Salvation Army?
This budget allows the Governor to release those moneys and support these non-profits that support our communities.
The Governor has refused to release about $43 million in appropriations and valuable initiatives passed by the Legislature last year. For example,
Act 272 provided $250,000 to increase transparency in state government;
Act 147 provided $200,000 for perinatal care;
Act 284 provided $8 million to increase Medicaid reinbursements to doctors providing health care to the underinsured and uninsured;
Act 237 provided $500,000 to increase low and moderate income family home ownership; and
Act 178 provided $84,000 for screening and referral to substance abuse services.
This budget allows those innovative programs to proceed without further delay.
Number 1: Finally, this budget appropriates $44.7 million less in operating general funds than the Governor's budget.