HONOLULU, Hawaii – On Tuesday, during the final readings of the 2014 legislative session, lawmakers voted to pass House Bill 1700, relating to the state supplemental budget.
Finance Chair Sylvia Luke rose to acknowledge all the work that went into fine tuning the $12.1 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2014-15.
From the State House of Representatives:
“As mentioned throughout this session, we’ve had to deal with a changing financial landscape that clearly suggested a more measured and prudent approach to spending, especially when we looked at our long-term obligations,” said Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), House Finance Chair and one of the budget’s chief architects. “I think we’ve done that while meeting the immediate needs of our people, including taking care of lowest wage earners, our kupuna and our keiki.”
“We’ve also continued to recapitalize our budget reserves with at least $200 million this year, and maintained significant financial contributions toward reducing our unfunded liabilities.”
HB1700 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the second half of the current biennium, FY2014-2015, including $10 million in Grant-in-Aid (GIA) for nonprofit organizations who provide community services and over $2.3 billion in G.O. bond funding for capital improvement projects (CIP), including monies for the new Kona Judiciary Building and the University of Hawaii at Hilo School of Pharmacy.
“I think part of the challenges that our finance chairs faced this year was the misconception that we had a huge projected surplus to dole out. And the plain fact is that was just not true, as the State Council on Revenues verified in its last quarterly report,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).
This January, there was an $844 million dollar surplus balance in the state coffers. But in March, the Council on Revenues reduced revenue projections for the current and next fiscal bienniums—amounting to $189.5 million less in FY2013-2014 and $491.8 million less in FY2014-2015.
“Despite flatter than expected projections, I think we were still able to provide for the most pressing needs of families, our schools, our seniors, the environment and our economy,” Souki said. “At the end of the day, we ended on the positive side of the ledger in both expenditures and taking care of our long term obligations.”Hawaii State House of Representatives
Across the courtyard, the State Senate also discussed the hard work. Ways and Means chair David Ige, who is running for governor, said it was about fiscal prudence.
From the State Senate:
HB1700 includes funding for core services such as education, health, the University of Hawaii, human services, the environment, public safety, and supporting and caring for the lives of Hawaii’s people.
Through prudent money management, and in order to reflect a weak economic forecast, lawmakers reduced Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s executive budget request by $173 million in general funds over fiscal biennium 2013-15. The governor’s $200 million budget request for FY2015 was significantly cut down to $65.7 million.
Funding for capital improvement projects amounted to just over $5 billion, of which $2.3 billion is funded in general obligation (GO) or reimbursable bonds. This number includes the lapse and reauthorization of $339 million in GO Bonds for the State Educational Facilities Improvement (SEFI) Fund. The budget includes $40 million for grant-in-aid (GIA).
“We’ve had some challenges balancing the budget this session, especially with lower-than-expected tax revenue projections,” said Sen. David Ige, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, “but through the commitment of both Senate and House members to work together to balance the needs and concerns of everyone in our community, we were able to make the smart financial decisions to close the budget.”Hawaii State Senate Majority
According to the State House, funding highlights include:
- Added four environmental health specialist positions and $96,309 for the pesticides branch
- Added $400,000 in revolving funds for operating and equipment costs for the pesticides branch
Accounting and General Services
- Added $87,071 for three positions for school repair and maintenance on neighbor islands
- Added $452,330 for six positions for delinquent tax collection
- Added $31,568 in general funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
- Added $250,000 for the Beijing and Taipei state offices in strategic marketing and support
- Added $50,000 for establishing and fostering sister-state relationships
- Added $100,000 for the Creative Lab Accelerator Program
- Added $160,000 for aerospace industry development and a commercial spaceport license application
- $227,200 in federal funds for the Homeland Security Office to coordinate security planning and preparedness activities with all agencies
- $134,802 for charter school per-pupil allotment
- $800,000 in general funds and $2 million in federal funds for the Charter School Commission operating and administration costs
- $2 million to support school athletic activities
- $15 million for the weighted student formula, which are funds that are distributed to schools based on enrollment and are spent at the principals’ discretion
- $3 million in general funds for a pre-kindergarten program, which will be coordinated by the DOE and the Executive Office on Early Learning in the Office of the Governor
- $1.925 million for the Strive HI performance system, which supports the lowest-performing 15% of schools
- $600,000 for an educator evaluation system to measure teacher effectiveness
- $256,000 in general funds to implement a mentoring program for new teachers
- $200,000 in general funds for a contract with Teach for America
- $9,000,000 to cover the shortfall in utility costs
- $592,000 in general funds for sabbatical leave for teachers
- $685,000 for electricity budget shortfall in libraries statewide.
- $200,000 to increase security services at libraries statewide.
- $600,000 to maintain computers and other technological services offered by Hawaii State Public Libraries System to patrons.
- A total of $8.5 million to increase foster care funding
- $500,000 for the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health Initiative (REACH) program to provide a framework for intermediate school after-school programs
- $1.5 million to continue the Housing First homeless initiative program
- $1,183,384 in general funds for the home- and community-based services waiver program administered by the department’s Developmental Disabilities Division
- $750,000 in general funds for statewide health information exchange infrastructure advancement and to support health information technology priorities
- $2 million for the Hilo Medical Center Primary Care Residency Program
- $185,000 in special funds for the replacement of motor vehicles at various community mental health centers
Land and Natural Resources
- $650,000 in special funds for watershed protection
- $1.3 million in special funds for information management system upgrade in the Public Land Management division
- $500,000 in special funds for Kauai fire mitigation and reforestation in the Forestry Resources Management and Development division
- $577,000 in general funds for personal services, operating expenses, and equipment in the Conservation and Resource Enforcement division officers
- Added ten adult corrections officers, and $259,930 in general funds for 24-hour Halawa Correctional Facility suicide watch posts
- Added six adult corrections officers, and $155,958 in general funds for 24-hour Oahu Community Correctional Center suicide watch posts
- Added twenty positions and $786,718 in general funds for mental health services in correctional centers
- $835,000 in special funds for security services at Honolulu International Airport
- $6,000,000 in special funds for routine maintenance of the baggage handling and explosives detection system at the Honolulu International Airport and Kahului Airport
- $4,000,000 in special funds for pavement-marking rehabilitation at eight airports
- $7,359,000 in special funds to purchase additional Wiki Wiki buses to accommodate international passengers waiting to be transported to the United States Customs and Border Protection at Honolulu International Airport
- A total of $1.4 million for a state-wide airports safety management program
- $3,000,000 in special funds to establish a national pollutant discharge elimination system and municipal separate storm water system permit for Maui District
- $1,500,000 in special funds for Honolulu Harbor and Kalaeloa Harbor to expand the storm drain cleaning and pollution control program on Oahu and another $1,300,000 in special funds for other expenses that may be incurred under the federal Clean Water Act
University of Hawaii
- $600,000 for a Model Indigenous Serving University to be expended on programs that would help native Hawaiian students succeed in they have not traditionally been successful in
- A total of $4 million for 89 campus operation and growth positions at the newly constructed University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus
- A total of $33.5 million to accommodate salary restorations and increases for University of Hawaii faculty members. Includes $14 million in special funds for salary restorations and $19.5 million in general funds for salary increases
- Increase of the special fund ceiling by nearly $46 million to support UH-Manoa campus operations and programs
- Addition of 50 positions to support UH community colleges operations
- $9,350,000 in special funds for various programs in University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine
Capital Improvement Projects
- Reauthorization of $399,000,000 of general obligation bonds to recapitalize the educational facilities improvement fund
- Nearly $700 million in total biennium appropriations for the Department of Education to address school improvements, upgrades, and renovations
- Over $110 million to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for critical repairs and upgrades to the state hospital system
- $390 million to address campus facilities and programs at the University of Hawaii, of which includes $100 million for capital renewal and deferred maintenance, and $57 million for health and safety projects for facilities
- $33 million for the construction of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus
- $28.8 million for the construction of the Allied Health and Administration building at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus