East Hawaii News

House and Senate Conclude State Budget Negotiations

April 29, 2015, 11:38 AM HST
* Updated April 29, 1:51 PM
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Members of the House and Senate met during a conference Tuesday to complete their negotiation on a final version of the state’s budget bill, HB500 CD1.

Conferees initially met about the state budget on Tuesday, April 21. During the meeting, discussion was closed ahead of the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of the conference committee.

A final vote on HB500 CD1, the bill that appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch, will be conducted by the full House and Senate. This bill is for the current biennium, fiscal years FY2015-2016 and FY2016-2017. If the bill is approved, it will be sent to Governor David Ige for his signature.

“Over the last two years we have taken on the challenge of limiting the State’s expenditures.  While it has not been an easy task, and while the budget remains tight, because the House and Senate limited spending the budget picture today is a lot better than it would have been,” said Representative Sylvia Luke, who serves as the Finance Chair..

Bill HB500 CD1, is offering $6.6 billion in general funds for FY2015-1016 and $6.862 billion in general funds for FY2016-2017.

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“The budget we passed today is one that is fiscally prudent, achieves many of the priorities of both the House and Senate, and stayed closed to the Governor’s budget request.  Reflected in this document is careful consideration of what has and always been our top priority: what is in the best interest of the State and ensure the interests and needs of the taxpayers are met,” Senator Jill Tokuda, chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee, said. “We’re not just policy makers, we’re parents, too.  So, it was particularly important to create fiscal policies that put us in a better position not just for this biennium, but for years to come and make sure the dollars spent today can be sustained tomorrow.”

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An item included in the budget bill is the consolidation of the purchasing power for the State’s technology projects under the office of the Chief Information Officer. With the new policy, the CIO will be provided with the ability to develop IT projects more efficiently, reflecting government transparency.

During the meeting, the committee also gave acknowledgment to the importance of natural resource protection and focused time on the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ budget.

Highlights of the budget are included below:

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Operating Highlights

$50 million in each year for the Rental Housing Trust Fund

$21 million in operating funds for the Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation

$2.4 million in  FY16 and $5 million in FY17 for the Department of Education weighted student formula

$1.5 million in FY16 for the Housing First Program

$7.5 million in each year for University of Hawai’i system wide operating expenses and costs associated with the Violence Against Women Act and Title IX

$500,000 in FY16 for the viability study of a Central Oahu land swap

$1 million each year for the A+ Afterschool Program

$3.164 million in FY16 and $2.741 in FY17 for costs associated with Halawa Correctional Facility repairs and improvement

$250,000 in FY16 for the prevention and treatment against the invasive macadamia felted coccid

$2.414 million in FY16 in general and federal funds for the Veteran’s Cemetery

$647,400 in FY16 and $319,048 in FY17 for the new Nanakuli Public Library

$9,632,000 in each year for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands administrative and operating expenses

$1.5 million in each year for albizia eradication and control along public state highways

CIP Highlights

A total of $165.8 million in FY16 and $70 million in FY17 in lump sum funds to the Department of Education for building conditioning and program support

$44.43 million for the University of Hawai’i system capital improvements program

$10 million FY16 for the University of Hawai’i Community Colleges capital improvements program

$40 million FY16 for the Rental Housing Trust Fund

$4.15 million each year in lump sum funds for public housing improvements and renovations

A total of $62.8 million in FY17 for a veterans long-term care facility

$1.4 million in FY16 and $500,000 in FY17 for statewide health, safety, code, and other requirements at the Department of Agriculture

$12 million each year in lump sum funds for the maintenance of existing state facilities

$20 million in FY16 and $12 million in FY17 in lump sum funds for the Hawai’i Health Systems Corporation

$3 million each year for rockfall and flood mitigation

$1 million each year for the Department of Land and Natural Resources watershed initiative

$4 million in FY16 for the Department of Land and Natural Resources Maui office annex building

$8.5 million in FY16 and $12.5 million in FY17 in lump sum funds for the Department of Public Safety

$129.139 million in FY16 (revenue bonds) and $86.811 million FY17 (special funds) for rental car facility improvements statewide

$250 million in FY16 (revenue bonds) for Kapalama Military Reservation improvements at Honolulu Harbor

A total of $30 million each year for the Department of Transportation to perform major pavement improvements statewide

House conferees include: Representatives Sylvia Luke, Chair; Romy Cachola, Ty Cullen, Lynn DeCoite, Aaron Johanson, Jo Jordan, Jarrett Keohokalole, Bert Kobayashi, Nicole Lowen, Scott Nishimoto, Richard Onishi, James Tokioka, Kyle Yamashita, Feki Pouha, and Gene Ward.

Senate conferees include: Senators Jill Tokuda, Chair; Ron Kouchi, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, Kalani English, Brickwood Galuteria, Breene Harimoto, Lorraine Inouye, Gil Riviere, and Russell Ruderman.

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