HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Thursday passed their own version of a supplemental budget, making large cuts following lower tax revenue projections.
$46.1 million was cut from Governor Neil Abercrombie’s Fiscal Year 2013-2014 proposal, and 167.9 million was taken out of Fiscal Year 2014-2015. The senate version of the bill contains funding for the UH-Hilo College of Pharmacy building, as did the House version of the budget. Also, in a separate measure, the senate has seen fit to fund in full the proposed Kona Judiciary complex. The $50 million dollar addition will cover the $90 million cost for the needed court facility.
As the video above shows, the senate’s sole Republican Sam Slom was not entirely pleased with the spending plan, despite being touted as “fiscally responsible”.
The bill will eventually end up in conference committee, where representatives from the House and Senate will try to reach an agreement the many aspects of the budget.
Following lower tax revenue projections, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means today passed a fiscally responsible HB1700 HD1 SD1, the supplemental appropriations act of 2014, which includes less spending while continuing to support education, health, human services, the environment and public safety. The bill adjusts appropriations for the operating and capital improvement budgets of the Executive Branch for Fiscal Biennium 2013-2015.
Compared to the Governor Neil Abercrombie’s budget proposal, for FY2013-2014, the Senate’s version of the bill reduces all funds by $46.1 million, inclusive of a general fund reduction of $45.8 million. For FY2014-2015, the bill reduces all funds by $167.9 million, inclusive of a general fund reduction of $158.7 million.
“As we did last year, the Senate displayed fiscal restraint. Given weak revenue projections, we made smart policy decisions by taking a conservative and responsible approach to the supplemental budget,” said Sen. David Ige, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
On March 11, 2014, the Council on Revenues reduced its projected general fund tax revenue growth, from 3.3 percent to zero percent in FY2013-2014 and 7.4 percent to 5.5 percent in FY2014-2015. Combining this with the Department of Budget and Finance’s estimated reduction of general fund non-tax revenue growth, it’s projected that there will be a cumulative total of $491.8 million less in general funds over the current fiscal biennium.
The bill does not include funding for certain administration requests that are intended to be funded under other appropriation measures, including joint majority package bills. Sen. Ige said that these reductions should not be counted as actual “savings.” The reductions include $33.5 million for the UHPA salaries, $1.0 million for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, and $4.9 million for Kupuna Care and other senior citizen programs.
“We wanted to take prompt action to ensure that there would be enough time in conference and continue discussions with our counterparts in the House,” added Ige.
The following are major general fund appropriations included in the Senate version of the bill:
Department of Education
- $15.0 million for the weighted student formula;
- $2.0 million for the Strive HI school performance improvement system;
- $2.0 million for student athletics.
Office of Early Learning
- $5.7 million for early learning pilot projects, including the pre-kindergarten and family child interactive learning projects.
Department of Human Services
- $3.0 million for Preschool Open Doors;
- $1.5 million for Housing First; and
- $5.5 million (plus $2.9 million in federal funds) to adjust to the monthly foster families board rates.
Department of Health
- $3.2 million for home and community based services waiver for the developmentally disabled; and
- $1.2 million for early intervention services contracts for infants and toddlers.
Hawaii Health Systems Corporation
- $4.5 million to replace lost federal funds.
Department of Land and Natural Resources
- $1.5 million for the Conservation and Resource Enforcement Unit.
- $2.5 million (plus $1.0 million in special funds) for the watershed program;
- $100,000 (plus $3.9 million in special funds) for the bid to host the International Union for Conservation Congress in 2016; and
Department of Public Safety
- $2.0 million in program costs, which may be used at the discretion of the Department for such programs as the justice reinvestment initiative;
- $786,718 for mental health care positions; and
- $519,860 for suicide/hospital watch positions.
- University of Hawaii
- $5 million and 89 positions for the University of Hawaii, West Oahu;
- Adding $47 Million and $9.2 Million in revolving fund for various programs for UH Manoa;
- $9.3 Million in special funds for various programs for the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine;
- $2.0 Million for various programs at UH Hilo; and
- Adding 50 positions for community colleges
The following are Capital Improvement Project (CIP) highlights:
Department of Education: $638 million
University of Hawaii: $625 million for College of Pharmacy, restore health and safety funding, provide repair and maintenance funding
Department of Transportation
- Reduced funding in all areas for new project, plus additional appropriations to existing projects
- Revenue bonds reduced by $430 million from executive request
- Federal funds reduced by $220 million from executive request
Hawaii State Senate media release