Thursday, March 9, 2017


Soft economic projections raise caution, but all core programs retain funding

The House Finance Committee today passed out a proposed budget that reflects slower economic growth in Hawaii based on General Excise Tax collections and projections by the State Council on Revenues. The Council on Revenues met in January and reduced its fiscal year 2017 projection from 5.5 percent to 3.0 percent. In order to be cautious with taxpayer money, about $500 million has been reduced from the Governor’s biennium budget request, according to Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), House Finance Chair.
“All core programs are retaining their funding, but with the predicted slower economy, it is better to make adjustments to requests for increased spending, than to send   an inflated budget over to the Senate where it would then need to be cut,” said Luke.
Luke said in 2008 and 2009 with rising unemployment and slow real estate sales, it was clear that massive budget cuts were needed to be fiscally responsible; however, economic factors, as projected by the Council on Revenues, indicate less dynamic growth.  When the council convenes again on Monday, March 13, changes in their projections will provide the Legislature an opportunity to revisit the budget for the upcoming fiscal biennium, Luke added.
HB100 HD1, which appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium, fiscal years FY2017-2018 and FY2018-2019, is scheduled for a vote next week by the full House.
For FY2017-2018, the bill offers $7.1 billion in general funds and $13.9 billion in all means of financing.  For FY2018-2019, it appropriates $7.3 billion in general funds and $14.1 billion in all financing means.
The full House is scheduled to vote on the budget bill next week.
Funding highlights include:
Department of the Attorney General
·         $110,000 to maintain the Criminal Justice Information System
·         $101,000 to Maintain the Upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System
·         $95,000 for the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing Program

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
·         $3,000,000 for an Excelerator program in the High Tech Development Corporation
·         $80,000 to promote Hawaii as a destination for films

Department of Budget and Finance
·         $15,001,114 to centralize vacation payout for general funded employees statewide
·         $3,695,200 for upgrades for the Employees’ Retirement System

Department of Defense
·         $360,000 for 10-year motor vehicle replacement plan
·         $80,000 for a Hawaii State Fusion Center director

Department of Education
·         $5,600,000 to expand the Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn Program
·         $2,027,645 to support the Office of Hawaiian Education
·         $1,040,593 and 20 positions to expand pre-K programs in DOE preschools
·         $844,776 and 18 positions to support children struggling with homelessness in the DOE
·         $500,000 to address R&M backlogs in state libraries
·         40 preschool teachers and 20 educational assistants to support special education students in DOE preschools

Department of Human Services
·         $3,000,000 for Rapid Re-Housing program to keep people out of homelessness
·         $3,000,000 for Housing First Program to keep chronically homeless individuals in housing
·         $1,500,000 for homeless outreach
·         $300,000 for homeless shelter maintenance and repair
·         $2,100,000 for low income family and elderly housing facilities
·         $400,000 for services for child victims of sex trafficking

Department of Human Resources Development
·         $3,274,000 for workers’ compensation claims
·         $350,000 for pilot program to improve effectiveness of employees
·         $101,080 for professional development courses for state employees

Department of Health
·         $40,710,951 for various federal grants to support the Disease Outbreak Control Program
§  $24,000,000 for support to local hospitals responding to emergency outbreaks
§  $13,200,000 for immunizations and vaccines for children
§  $3,510,951 for other grants
·         $4,314,600 for a voluntary family planning program grant
·         $4,145,695 for Kupuna Care
·         $3,000,000 as a match for the maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting grant
·         $1,700,000 for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)
·         $1,912,836 to rebase home and community care service subsidies
·         $422,540 for vector control
·         $300,000 to increase the inventory of clean and sober housing
·         $157,168 and 1 program specialist position for the Long Term Care Ombudsman
·         $150,000 for a Statewide Telehealth Pilot project
·         $102,000 for 2 epidemiological specialists to help with surveillance of disease outbreak

Department of Labor
·         $515,386 and 1 position for Disability Compensation Division modernization
·         $205,00 for Community Services Block Grant
·         $41,197 for Commodity Supplemental Food Program Federal Grant

Department of Land and Natural Resources
·         $4,000,000 for Hawaii Invasive Species Council operations
·         $3,405,749 for Native Resources and Fire Protection operations
·         $2,832,996 for Forest Reserve Management and Development operations
·         $500,000 for Bureau of Conveyances to modernize accessibility to records
·         $500,000 to implement an Integrated Information Management System
·         $250,000 for the Ala Wai Watershed Initiative

Department of Transportation
·         $124,400,000 for 10-year replacement plans for motor vehicles, equipment, and ongoing base funding for special maintenance projects
§  $35,500,000 for airports
§  $17,600,000 for harbors
§  $71,300,000 for highways
·         $4,000,000 for highway cleanup services in Department of Transportation
·         $3,000,000 in state matching funds for Airport Rescue and Firefighting vehicles statewide

University of Hawaii System
·         $600,000 and 6 psychologist positions to address mental health concerns of students enrolled in the University of Hawaii System

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