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State Budget Negotiations Underway

April 19, 2017, 1:59 PM HST (Updated April 19, 2017, 2:11 PM) · 0 Comments
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Negotiations are now underway in the House and Senate on a final version of the state budget bill.

Legislative Conference Committee Begins Budget Negotiations. Photo credit: Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

Early agreement on items included $48 million for Medicaid capitation payment increases, $300,000 for a statewide tele-health pilot project, and $600,000 for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless people over the fiscal biennium.

Legislators also recognized the importance and effectiveness of the rapid re-housing program and increased Gov. David Ige’s request of $2.5 million by half a million dollars for a total of $3 million for fiscal year 2018.

Earlier this session, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget.

Lawmakers will continue to meet to figure out differences between the two versions through April 28, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.

A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

“With current economic predictions showing state income to be sluggish, lawmakers are being very careful with taxpayer money,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke (Dist. 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuʻuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), House Finance Committee Chair.

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“We are looking to provide a budget that takes care of the basic programs we have in place, but does not spend more than necessary,” Luke said. “That is why we require all state departments and programs to be accountable for exactly what they spend and the services they provide.”

In December, the Ige Administration proposed a $14.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The administration has made changes since then.

“We are continuing to take a fiscally responsible approach to provide the priority needs for our community while ensuring the financial stability of our state’s resources and long term obligations,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kāneʻohe, Kāneʻohe MCAB, Kailua, Heʻeia, Ahuimanu), chair of the Senate committee on Ways and Means. “This means doing more with less and targeting funding towards those things that are both critically important and will sustain and grow our economy.”

Below are a few of the budget items agreed upon so far:

  • $6.5 million in each fiscal year for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, Primary Prevention and Chronic Disease Management
  • $2.1 million in each fiscal year to support state family and elderly housing facilities in both years
  • $3 million in FY18 for the rapid re-housing program
  • $9.1 million in FY18 and $39.3 in FY19 for Medicaid capitation payment increases
  • $3.3 million in FY18 for housing inmates in a non-state facility during renovation of the Halawa Correctional Facility
  • $2.9 million in both years for Medicare part B premium payments
  • $300,000 in each fiscal year for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals with severe substance abuse disorders
  • $2.7 million in FY18 to rebase provider rates for home and community based services
  • $150,000 in each fiscal year for a statewide telehealth pilot project
  • $3 million in each fiscal year for maintenance of effort for maternal infant early childhood home visiting grant

Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state, judiciary, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website.

The conference committee will reconvene on Thursday, April 20, at 2 p.m.

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