Hawai'i State News

Hawai‘i House of Representatives passes $11.3 billion state budget

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The Hawai‘i House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the state’s fiscal year 2024 – 2025 operating and capital improvement budget, amidst a fiscally challenging period that prioritizes addressing wildfire-related expenses after the Aug. 8 tragedy in Lāhainā and Upcountry Maui.

Upon passing its third reading on the House floor, House Bill 1800 HD1 – Relating to the State Budget will cross over to the Senate.

“Ensuring the safety and the recovery of our communities will come at an extraordinary cost to the state budget. At the same time, preserving, maintaining and enhancing fundamental services for Hawaiʻi’s residents remains our priority,” said House Finance Chair Kyle Yamashita (D-12, Upcountry Maui).


“This encompasses mental health services, healthcare for the disabled and kūpuna, biosecurity to protect our ʻāina and natural resources, business and workforce development, childcare and education, affordable housing and public welfare,” Yamashita continued.

According to the House Committee on Finance, all known potential costs for programs associated with assisting survivors of the Aug. 8 tragedy have been appropriated in the House draft of the state budget to remove the necessity to transfer money appropriated by the Legislature for specific purposes. Yamashita noted that more than $1.0 billion, or 10% of the general fund budget may be needed to respond to recovery costs.

House Finance Vice Chair Lisa Kitagawa (D-48, Kāne‘ohe, ‘Āhuimanu, Kahalu‘u, Waiāhole, Ka‘a‘awa on O‘ahu) emphasized that while the federal government assists states in mitigating recovery costs, reimbursements are not immediate.


“It may take several years for the state to receive its funds. Communication, coordination and cooperation between all branches of government will be needed in the coming days, months and years to develop and implement solutions for survivors,” said Kitagawa.

“The current fiscal situation presents the Legislature with unique challenges and difficult choices amid the budgetary uncertainties surrounding the Lahaina disaster,” said Capital Improvement Projects Chair Scott Y. Nishimoto (D-23, Mō‘ili‘ili and McCully on O‘ahu).

“The House was forced to make some very difficult decisions in regard to CIP, but was ultimately able to fund critically needed improvements, repairs, and maintenance projects throughout the State, as well as provide full funding for all of the governor’s capital improvement project requests associated with the Maui wildfires disaster,” Nishimoto continued.


Although the House draft of the state budget focuses heavily on addressing expenses related to the Maui wildfires, Yamashita reiterated that core services throughout the state must be maintained.

“Numerous individuals in our community continue to grapple with the enduring impacts of the pandemic, homelessness, and the challenges of the cost of living. It is critical to establish a robust safety net to foster resilient communities and build a stronger economy,” said Yamashita.

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