Categorized | Government, News

Senate Ways and Means Committee passes budget bill


The Senate Committee on Ways and Means passed House Bill 200 with amendments Wednesday. The Senate’s version of the bill is approximately $141 M less in general funds than Governor Abercrombie’s budget proposal.

The bill appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Executive Branch for the fiscal biennium years 2013-2015.

Although the revenue forecast continues to improve, we took a cautious and conservative approach in our version of the budget,” said Sen. David Ige, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “We reduced the executive branch’s request by approximately $141 million, while making strategic investments in our community.”

Here are some of the highlights of the bill:

$26.5M – Executive Office of Early Learning, includes early childhood education program

$55M – Department of Education’s weighted student formula

$54.5M – Office of Information Management & Technology

$200M – Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund, unfunded liabilities

$5.2 M – Agricultural task force and livestock feed development program

$5.2 M – Agricultural resource management programs and projects, including Kunia agricultural park irrigation systems

$25M – Sequestration contingency fund to address nationwide federal spending reductions

$355,000 – Hawaii Refinery Task Force

$8M – Hawaii Growth Initiative

$1M – Hawaii Health Information Exchange

$3.9M – State energy projects

$205.5M – Medicaid

$874,000 – Veteran services

$1.8M – Homeless shelters and services

The capital improvement programs include $2 billion in all means of financing for the fiscal year 2014 and $990M for fiscal year 2015,” explained Senator Michelle Kidani, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means who oversees Capital Improvements Projects for the Senate.

Highlights of the capital improvement program:

$1.2B – For Department of Transportation projects, such as $70 million for the expansion of the Kona International Airport, $140 million for Honolulu International Airport, as well as increased capacity at our harbors ($250 million), and dozens of road improvements and bridge repairs.

$120M – For informational systems in various departments to streamline tax collections, maintain and share critical health information, as well provide for a secure communication network for the islands.

“The investments made in the Department of Transportation focus our attention on addressing the less than ideal conditions of our roads and infrastructure, expanding our harbors and renovating the first thing our visitors see—our airports. We also continue to move our State into the 21st century by allocating funds towards upgrading the State’s aging and obsolete IT infrastructure,” Kidani said.

The House Bill 200 HD1 SD1 moves on to the full Senate for a vote.

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