Senate Budget Includes Kihei High School and CIP Package
By Wendy Osher
The Hawai’i Senate passed 197 measures on Tuesday, ahead of tomorrow’s Second Crossover deadline.
A key measure that gained passage was House Bill 2145, which includes the Senate’s flagship initiative, known as “The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012.”
The measure is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating the local economy through the funding of shovel-ready projects.
The measure would appropriate funds for repair and maintenance projects that would extend the useful life of the state’s aging facilities and infrastructure.
According to job multiplier estimates released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Technology, the measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.
“I encourage our colleagues in the House to seriously consider this measure because interest rates are at an historic low and there is no better time to make a significant investment in our state-owned facilities,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, of Maui.
Fellow Senator Roz Baker of Maui said the bill will benefit all businesses, and encouraged those interested to register with the State Procurement Office’s online system in order to establish eligibility and bid for projects. “The process is totally transparent and open- with bids posted publicly for anyone to see,” said Sen. Baker.
Senator J. Kalani Engish, also of Maui, looked to the long-term environmental and cost savings benefits saying, “This bill puts investment toward renewable energy and information technology upgrade initiatives throughout our schools, hospitals, and office buildings, which will lead to future cost savings and a reduction in the State’s carbon footprint.”
Senate Budget Highlights:
The Senate also passed its version of the $11 billion supplemental budget for the State of Hawaii, House Bill 2012.
Additional funds for child welfare, domestic violence shelters, Medicaid, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services were included; as well as $18.2 million that was directed to the temporary assistance for needy families program, and $3.6 million to information technology initiatives to modernize the Department of Human Services.
New Kihei High School Included in Education Budget:
As for education initiatives, the Senate added $44 million to the Department of Education’s budget. The budget includes $20 million for the new high school in Kihei. It also focuses on key areas including: the weighted student formula, student meals, the community school for adult program, early learning and student transportation.
Technology and Infrastructure Upgrades:
In the area of technology, the Senate’s budget includes more than $27 million dollars for critical infrastructure IT projects. The Senate also expressed support for the governor’s broadband initiative to improve services and deployment of broadband, to ensure that each and every citizen has access.
***Supporting information courtesy Senate Communications.