Maui Business

Governor Updates Hawai‘i’s Financial Future

February 10, 2021, 10:41 AM HST
* Updated February 10, 4:24 PM
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Governor David Ige. PC: Office of Gov. David Ige (file Dec. 9, 2020).

Governor David Ige provided an update on Hawai‘i’s current financial picture, the near-term outlook, and post COVID-19 pandemic predictions during a press briefing on Tuesday.

“We are continually monitoring our state revenues, advocating for federal funding, and doing all that we can to provide much-needed programs to help people in need,” said Gov. Ige.

The state’s fiscal biennium budget and financial plan were submitted to the legislature in December.

The federal government passed an aid package in December to assist with the state’s pandemic response, and is currently considering another.

In January, the Council on Revenues increased its revenue projections by $2 billion over seven years, but the state will still have a significant revenue shortfall, according to the governor.

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Gov. Ige said revenues are not predicted to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. In January, revenue reports show the state’s general revenue funds were down by -9.4 percent for the month.

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As previously reported, the state Department of Education’s target reductions will reset to 2.5 percent from an original projection of 10 percent, representing a restoration of $123 million to public school classrooms.

With federal aid, any potential furloughs for the DOE are delayed until at least July, according to state officials.

“I want to thank our Congressional delegation for advocating on our behalf. They know how important it is to the people of Hawaiʻi that federal aid be directed to the states so we can continue to provide needed services,” said Gov. Ige.

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If President Biden’s relief package passes, the governor outlined some priorities for the state that include the following:

  • Increase funding for public school education.
  • Fund Unemployment Insurance and repay the $700 million Unemployment
  • Insurance loan from USDOL
  • Eliminate program budget cuts and labor savings.
  • Repay $750 million loan to help make payroll.
  • Establish a statewide broadband network.

“While I’m cautiously optimistic about the economic recovery, it is fragile. Until additional federal aid is approved, we must be prudent and plan accordingly,” said Gov. Ige.

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