Maui News

Hawaiʻi Legislature Passes State Budget

April 29, 2014, 12:25 PM HST
* Updated April 29, 12:50 PM
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State Budget, Maui Now graphic.

State Budget, graphic by Wendy Osher/Maui Now.

By Maui Now Staff

State lawmakers today voted to approve a Hawaiʻi Budget for fiscal year 2014 to 2015, that includes $10 million for grant-in-aid projects, and more than $2 billion for capital improvement projects.

House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke called the budget “measured and prudent.”

“I think we’ve done that while meeting the immediate needs of our people, including taking care of lowest wage earners, our kūpuna and our keiki,” said Luke in a press release announcing the legislative budget.

“We’ve also continued to recapitalize our budget reserves with at least $200 million this year, and maintained significant financial contributions toward reducing our unfunded liabilities,” she said.

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House Speaker Joseph Souki of Maui also commented in the announcement saying, “I think part of the challenges that our finance chairs faced this year was the misconception that we had a huge projected surplus to dole out. And the plain fact is that was just not true, as the State Council on Revenues verified in its last quarterly report.”

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According to information provided by state lawmakers, there was an $844 million surplus balance in the state coffers earlier this year; but in March the revenue forecast was lowered, meaning the state would have to work with $189.5 million less in fiscal year 2013-2014, and $491.8 million less in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.

He continued saying, “Despite flatter than expected projections, I think we were still able to provide for the most pressing needs of families, our schools, our seniors, the environment and our economy.  At the end of the day, we ended on the positive side of the ledger in both expenditures and taking care of our long term obligations.”

House lawmakers released a list of highlights from HB1700 that includes $3 million in special funds to establish a national pollutant discharge elimination system and municipal separate storm water system permit for the Maui District of the Department of Transportation.

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Below is a list of other budget funding highlights released by state House lawmakers:

Agriculture:

  • Added four environmental health specialist positions and $96,309 for the pesticides branch
  • Added $400,000 in revolving funds for operating and equipment costs for the pesticides branch

Accounting and General Services:

  • Added $87,071 for three positions for school repair and maintenance on neighbor islands

Attorney General

  • Added $452,330 for six positions for delinquent tax collection
  • Added $31,568 in general funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • Added $250,000 for the Beijing and Taipei state offices in strategic marketing and support
  • Added $50,000 for establishing and fostering sister-state relationships
  • Added $100,000 for the Creative Lab Accelerator Program
  • Added $160,000 for aerospace industry development and a commercial spaceport license application

Defense

  • $227,200 in federal funds for the Homeland Security Office to coordinate security planning and preparedness activities with all agencies

Charter Schools

  • $134,802 for charter school per-pupil allotment
  • $800,000 in general funds and $2 million in federal funds for the Charter School Commission operating and administration costs

Education

  • $2 million to support school athletic activities
  • $15 million for the weighted student formula, which are funds that are distributed to schools based on enrollment and are spent at the principals’ discretion
  • $3 million in general funds for a pre-kindergarten program, which will be coordinated by the DOE and the Executive Office on Early Learning in the Office of the Governor
  • $1.925 million for the Strive HI performance system, which supports the lowest-performing 15% of schools
  • $600,000 for an educator evaluation system to measure teacher effectiveness
  • $256,000 in general funds to implement a mentoring program for new teachers
  • $200,000 in general funds for a contract with Teach for America
  • $9,000,000 to cover the shortfall in utility costs
  • $592,000 in general funds for sabbatical leave for teachers

Public Libraries

  • $685,000 for electricity budget shortfall in libraries statewide.
  • $200,000 to increase security services at libraries statewide.
  • $600,000 to maintain computers and other technological services offered by Hawaiʻi State Public Libraries System to patrons.

Human Services

  • A total of $8.5 million to increase foster care funding
  • $500,000 for the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health Initiative program to provide a framework for intermediate school after-school programs
  • $1.5 million to continue the Housing First homeless initiative program

Health

  • $1,183,384 in general funds for the home- and community-based services waiver program administered by the department’s Developmental Disabilities Division
  • $750,000 in general funds for statewide health information exchange infrastructure advancement and to support health information technology priorities
  • $2 million for the Hilo Medical Center Primary Care Residency Program
  • $185,000 in special funds for the replacement of motor vehicles at various community mental health centers

Land and Natural Resources

  • $650,000 in special funds for watershed protection
  • $1.3 million in special funds for information management system upgrade in the Public Land Management division
  • $500,000 in special funds for Kauaʻi fire mitigation and reforestation in the Forestry Resources Management and Development division
  • $577,000 in general funds for personal services, operating expenses, and equipment in the Conservation and Resource Enforcement division officers

Public Safety

  • Added ten adult corrections officers, and $259,930 in general funds for 24-hour Hālawa Correctional Facility suicide watch posts
  • Added six adult corrections officers, and $155,958 in general funds for 24-hour Oʻahu Community Correctional Center suicide watch posts
  • Added twenty positions and $786,718 in general funds for mental health services in correctional centers

Transportation

  • $835,000 in special funds for security services at Honolulu International Airport
  • $6,000,000 in special funds for routine maintenance of the baggage handling and explosives detection system at the Honolulu International Airport and Kahului Airport
  • $4,000,000 in special funds for pavement-marking rehabilitation at eight airports
  • $7,359,000 in special funds to purchase additional Wiki Wiki buses to accommodate international passengers waiting to be transported to the United States Customs and Border Protection at Honolulu International Airport
  • A total of $1.4 million for a state-wide airports safety management program
  • $3,000,000 in special funds to establish a national pollutant discharge elimination system and municipal separate storm water system permit for Maui District
  • $1,500,000 in special funds for Honolulu Harbor and Kalaeloa Harbor to expand the storm drain cleaning and pollution control program on Oʻahu and another $1,300,000 in special funds for other expenses that may be incurred under the federal Clean Water Act

University of Hawaii

  • $600,000 for a Model Indigenous Serving University to be expended on programs that would help native Hawaiian students succeed in they have not traditionally been successful in
  • A total of $4 million for 89 campus operation and growth positions at the newly constructed University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu campus
  • A total of $33.5 million to accommodate salary restorations and increases for University of Hawaiʻi faculty members. Includes $14 million in special funds for salary restorations and $19.5 million in general funds for salary increases
  • Increase of the special fund ceiling by nearly $46 million to support UH-Mānoa campus operations and programs
  • Addition of 50 positions to support UH community colleges operations
  • $9,350,000 in special funds for various programs in University of Hawaiʻi, John A. Burns School of Medicine

Capital Improvement Projects

  • Reauthorization of $399,000,000 of general obligation bonds to recapitalize the educational facilities improvement fund
  • Nearly $700 million in total biennium appropriations for the Department of Education to address school improvements, upgrades, and renovations
  • Over $110 million to the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation for critical repairs and upgrades to the state hospital system
  • $390 million to address campus facilities and programs at the University of Hawaiʻi, of which includes $100 million for capital renewal and deferred maintenance, and $57 million for health and safety projects for facilities
  • $33 million for the construction of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo campus
  • $28.8 million for the construction of the Allied Health and Administration building at the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu campus
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