When budgets are sliced and money is sparse, discussions on ways to generate more funds become ubiquitous. In an economic slump, the same services that people enjoyed in past booming economies cannot continue the same way unless new funding sources are tapped.
One House committe chairperson, Rep. Rida Cabanilla, has an idea to ease the financial burden the state has endured since the establishment of the Compact of Free Association Act of 1985 (COFA). COFA allows members of the Federated State of Micronesia to travel and legally reside in the United States.
She is proposing to allow the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to bill the Federated State of Micronesia for any homeless services rendered to Micronesians living in Hawaii under the COFA.
According to House Bill 2357, Micronesians make up a large part of the homeless population. Hawaii is the entry point for residents of the Federated State of Micronesia to the United States, but once here, many have difficulties adjusting to the high cost of living and many seek state services and assistance.
The federal government only reimburses the state ten cents for every dollar spent. With the economy in a slump, the state has had to make cuts to some COFA services, including the reduction of health insurance benefits for COFA residents. Lawmakers are looking to alternative sources of funding in order to continue to assist Micronesians in Hawaii
What do you think about House Bill 2357?
There are several questions that immediately come to mind. Is this proposal feasible? Is it legal? What are the costs in implementing the bill? We'll most likely get some of these questions answered in a hearing Wednesday, 9 a.m in conference room 325.