Senate WAM Committee Passes Budget Recommendation

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The Hawai‘i Senate Ways & Means (WAM) Committee passed its budget recommendation for FY 2019-20 and 2020-21 on Monday, March 11, 2019.

House Bill (HB) 2, known as the General Appropriations Act, sets forth appropriations for Executive Branch Departments and the Means of Financing for those expenditures. Together with HB116 and HB1259, which passed at the same time, the bills make up the Senate position on the Executive Budget for the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium.

“The committee feels it is important to limit the growth of government and reduce duplicative services. Where applicable, departments should be working with each other to provide services to Hawai‘i’s residents,” said WAM Chair Donovan Dela Cruz.

The Senate approached the Senate Draft conservatively in the event the Council on Revenues further lowers their general fund revenues forecast. The Senate Draft puts forth a state budget that is $31.7 million lower than the Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 and $183.6 million lower for Fiscal Year 2021.


Some highlights of the Senate Draft include:

  • Adds $2.2M in both fiscal years for University of Hawaii graduate student base salary and cost of living increases;
  • Adds $30M in both fiscal years for Airports Special Maintenance, $5M in both fiscal years for Harbors Special Maintenance, and $35M in FY20 and $49M in FY21 for Highways Special Maintenance;
  • Adds $3.6M in FY20 and $4.8M in FY21 for Tax System Modernization
  • Adds $500K in both fiscal years for Rapid Ohia Death and $1M in both fiscal years for Critical Invasive Species Response;
  • Adds $2M in FY20 and $1M in FY21 for unemployment insurance division modernization;
  • Adds $600K in both fiscal years for Juvenile Justice Reform;
  • Add 6 positions for Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, Animal Disease Control, and Agribusiness Development Corporation.

The Senate has also determined that the following are priorities that should continue to receive funding therefore placeholders have been included in the Senate Draft to allow for further discussion:

  • Kupuna Care
  • Kupuna Caregivers Program
  • Maui Health Systems


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