Governor Submits Supplemental Budget to State Legislature
By Maui Now Staff
Governor Neil Abercrombie presented his version of the 2013 to 2015 biennium budget to the state Legislature today, along with an updated financial plan through 2019.
“The supplemental budget and plan continue responsible management of state fiscal affairs in order to build upon the $1.1 billion turnaround our state has achieved,” said Governor Abercrombie, who was joined by Finance Director Kalbert Young of Maui, and various other members of his cabinet.
In a press release announcement he continued, “At the same time, we recognize that Hawaii’s improved fiscal position allows us to better address important issues such as early learning and development, support for our seniors, environmental protection, and homelessness. The supplemental budget provides an opportunity to navigate our economic environment for the maximum benefit of the people of Hawaiʻi.”
Finance director Kalbert Young said the state has “a targeted objective to build state reserves to 10% of general fund revenues.” He continued, “These reserves will allow the state to weather future economic downturns and mitigate against cyclical public service cutbacks.”
According to the announcement the following fund allocations are planned:
- Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014.
- Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund will receive $50 million in fiscal year 2014. This is in addition to the $55.5 million in general excise tax revenues transferred this fiscal year.
- Through separate legislation, the administration will also be proposing the transfer of $50 million to each fund in fiscal year 2015.
Administrative officials say the estimated balance of Hawaii’s reserves after these transfers will be more than $372 million, or 5.6% of projected general fund revenues in FY 2015, which translates to more than half of the 10% target.
The budget also includes increased support for a variety of initiatives including: more than $5.4 million in additional funds for early learning and development initiatives; more than $4.5 million has been requested for programs that support older residents; an additional $4 million for conservation purposes at Turtle Bay; a $1.5 million request for the Housing First program to assist Hawaii’s homeless; and $3.1 million for Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui’s REACH Initiative for after school programs for middle and intermediate students.