Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lawmakers Urge Gov to Release GIA's

Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro points to some of Hawaii's nonprofits who will be negatively impacted if grant funding is not released by June 30th.

Concern is building around the fact that June 30th is just around the corner, and the Governor has not released the majority of grants-in-aid (GIA) appropriated last year. The GIA requests for operating funds will lapse if not released by this date.

House and Senate leaders gathered in the rotunda today to urge the Governor to release the funds. In 2007, about $10.1 million in grants for operating funds was appropriated by the legislature. So far, about $2.6 million has been released. As the funds have been accounted for in the current balanced budget, restricting these funds will not provide additional

In addition, the legislature approved nearly $26 million in grants for capital improvement projects (CIP). As of May 9th, the Department of Budget and Finance had released only $2.7 million. The CIP grants are funded through general obligation bonds and not general funds; as such, any unreleased CIP monies will lapse in June 2010.

While the urgency lies with the lapsing of GIA operating funds at the end of June, lawmakers would also like the Governor to speed up the release of CIP grants. This will not only help nonprofits with their physical infrastructure, but will pump more money into our local economy and create more construction related jobs as Hawaii fights against an economic downturn.

"There is no reason why the entire $10.1 million in operating grants-in-aid should not be released," said Finance Chair, Rep. Marcus Oshiro. "The money is already accounted for in a balanced state budget, and we're talking about a small fraction, less than 1/10th of 1%, of our $10 billion general fund budget. Yet, it's an amount that will make a world of difference to these non-profits who provide services to some of the most needy in our community. The Governor should release the funds and get the money out to these people."

In a public radio interview last week, Governor Lingle said that the administration is taking a careful approach in reviewing the grant applications. Specifically, she is quoted as saying that:

"We're dealing with those which are health and safety related first, and also using a set of criteria including how much money do they raise on their own, what results are they trying to achieve, what their past experience is. We're also looking at how many years have they been receiving this kind of government assistance."

Here is a list of grants from 2007 that have been released thus far in order of release date.

8/14/07 Asia Pacific Exchange and Development (APED) - $25,000
11/20/07 Pacific and Asian Affairs Council - $130,000
12/06/07 T.J. Mahoney and Associates - $95,273
12/26/07 Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council - $100,000
1/03/08 Bishop Museum - $450,000
1/24/08 Parents and Children Together – Weed and Seed - $400,000
2/14/08 Waikiki Community Center - $50,000
3/2/08 Aloha Medical Mission - $75,000
3/2/08 Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders – Aloha Chapter - $50,000
3/2/08 Kapahulu Center – $67,338
3/10/08 Ohana Makamae Inc. - $83,315
4/21/08 Hawaii High School Athletic Association - $150,000
4/23/08 Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Honolulu - $134,000
4/23/08 Hui Malama Learning Center - $150,000
4/24/08 Read to Me International Foundation - $100,000
4/25/08 Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council - $552,227
4/28/08 Family Promise of Hawaii - $40,000
5/27/08 Ke Ala Hoku Community Integration Partnership - $200,000

By the end of the legislative session in 2008, the Council on Revenues had lowered its projection from 4.9% to 3.9% growth, which translates to about $50 million less state tax revenue. Due to the fact that the great majority of grants appropriated in 2007 had not been released, the legislature found it difficult to justify appropriating more funds for grants on top of funds that were being held up by the administration.

Today, the Council lowered its projection to 3.3% growth.

If the funds are released prior to June 30th, the non-profit organizations of Hawaii will be able to provide critical services over the upcoming year. If the money is not released, the funds, which are not needed to balance the state budget, will be lost.

1 comment:

Vernon said...
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