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House Finance Committee proposes conservative budget


The House Finance Committee has passed out a proposed budget that would create a proactive framework for the state to consistently spend within its means.

“The idea is not just to spend conservatively but to create a mindset for the state to spend within its means as a matter of consistent practice,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), House Finance Chair.

“Too often in years past, the state spent whatever monies it collected in good times and pulled in the reins in bad. Our long-term obligations were the cans that were kicked down the road. That’s why we are in the position we are in today. We hope this budget will change that mindset once and for all.”

HB500 HD1, which appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium, fiscal years FY2015-2016 and FY2016-2017, is scheduled for a vote next week by the full House.

For FY2015-2016, the bill offers $6.5 billion in general funds and $12.7 billion in all means of financing. For FY2016-2017, it appropriates $6.8 billion in general funds and $13.1 billion in all financing means.

While the total budget is slightly less than the budget proposed by the Ige Administration, it did include $400,000 to staff a new function within the Governor’s Office to aggressively go after federal grants, an initiative that Ige mentioned in his State of the State address.

“While we’ve talked about needing to go after federal grants in the past, the departments are not equipped to pursue them as aggressively as we would like them to,” Luke said. “So we’ll be working with the Governor in setting up an office within the Administration to spearhead this effort on behalf of all of our departments. $400,000 is a small investment if it can bring in a substantial amount of federal funds.”

The House Finance Committee also took a different approach in allocating funds to the University of Hawaii system, by moving the university’s general funds, $369,112,604, to the UH System Office, letting it determine the needs of each campus.

“When we took up the autonomy bill, one of the things the Legislature considered was lump sum budgeting, which is a truer form of autonomy,” Luke said. “While this is a drastic change from the past, we will be working with the university to see if this provides better flexibility, as well as accountability, to work through its fiscal issues more effectively.”

Funding highlights include:

Office of the Governor

· $400,000 to create the Office of Grant Maximization to pursue federal grants for the State

· $252,000 to fund administrative costs, including the Western Governors’ Association Membership

Office of the Lt. Governor

· $60,000 in FY 2016 for the Commissioner of Deeds program

· $50,000 for protocol, travel, and other administrative expenses

· $100,000 for the Office of Information Practices to assist with Information Technology issues

University of Hawaii

· Consolidated the University of Hawaii general fund budget by transferring $369,112,604 currently budgeted at all campuses to UOH 900, UH System-wide Support; to be distributed according to Board of Regents and system wide policies and priorities

Department of Education

· $2,401,808 for the Weighted Student Formula to be distributed to schools statewide

· $1,000,000 in FY2016 to support student travel to academic and arts national competitions

· $3,837,935 to support teacher recruitment and retention in hard to fill locations in the DOE and Charter Schools

· Transferred $62,053,049 in FY2017 from School Support to School Based Budgeting for school level utility costs to allow principals to utilize utility savings in their schools

· $2,929,146 in FY2016 and $2,496,292 in FY2017 to cover the Food Service program shortfall

· $29,000 for the Hawaii State Public Library System for the replacement of a logistics support services van

· $375,000 for the Hawaii State Public Library System to purchase new books and materials

· Created a new Program ID for the State Charter School Commission to separate the budget of the Commission from the charter schools per pupil allocation

· $5,963,625 in FY2016 and $5,586,689 in FY2017 for charter school per pupil funding

Department of Agriculture

· $220,812 and 4 positions for the Pesticides Branch for pesticides enforcement on Oahu, Maui and Kauai

· $200,000 in FY 2016 and $50,000 in FY 2017 for upgrades and maintenance of Animal Quarantine computer systems

Department of Accounting and General Services

· $3,000,000 in FY2016 and $3,500,000 in FY2017 to improve the stability of the State’s Information Technology infrastructure

· $61,530 in FY2016 and FY2017 to restore the salary for the Deputy Comptroller

Department of the Attorney General

· $500,000 which will enable the Department of the Attorney General to fill up to nine vacant positions

· $176,336 of federal funds in FY2016 and $170,336 in FY2017 for two additional investigators for the Sex Offender Program

· $300,000 in FY2016 for Statewide Sexual Assault Services

· $169,508 for two positions to support the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing Program

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

Allocations include funding to foster economic international relations and establishment of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority.

· $250,000 to support the Beijing and Taipei state offices

· $200,000 in FY2016 for fostering sister-state relationships

· $1,000,000 for the operations of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority

Department of Defense

· $95,000 for the Office of Homeland Security

· $139,931 to support the Hawaii Army National Guard facilities at Kalaeloa

· $820,483 in FY2016 and $1,210,489 in FY2017 to support the Hawaii Air National Guard facilities at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam

· $1,944,720 in FY2016 for the Veteran’s Cemetery for storm drain and walkway repairs, and the purchase of various pieces of heavy equipment

Department of Human Services

· $2,600,000 to maintain the current general assistance monthly payment level at $349

· $1,500,000 in general funds for FY2016 to continue the Housing First Program pilot program

· $3,878,000 to support Temporary Assistance to Needy Families work programs and contracted services

Department of Human Resources Development

· $200,000 in general funds for an in-service training and program effectiveness project for state employees

Department of Health

· $7,723,002 to maintain the current level of ambulance services statewide

· $2,997,000 for the Hawaii State Hospital to address budget shortfalls due to high patient counts

· $635,000 for cost increases at intermediate care facilities for those with intellectual disabilities

· Approved a reorganization of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health program to enable the program to provide better services to clients

· Approved a reorganization for the community mental health centers in order to promote uniform quality of care statewide

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

· $121,122 in FY 2016 and $123,752 in FY 2017 to enhance operations of the Hawai‘i Occupational Safety and Health Program

· $54,823 in FY 2016 and $51,289 in FY 2017 for 1 position in the Disability Compensation Division

· $170,122 in FY 2016 and $175,513 in FY 2017 to fund nine Information Technology specialists

Department of Land and Natural Resources

· $75,000 for a State Sustainability Coordinator

· $65,000 for a Co-Manager of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

· $529,543 in FY 2016 and $513,193 in FY 2017 for 5 positions and equipment for the State Historic Preservation Division to address backlogs as prescribed by the National Park Service corrective action plan

· $250,000 in FY 2016 and $500,000 in FY 2017 for the digitization of microfilm archives in the Bureau of Conveyances

· $1,000,000 for the State Parks Division for repairs and maintenance of facilities

· Approved the reorganization of the Aquatic Resources Division to replace an outdated fisheries management-based structure with an ecosystem management-based one

Department of Public Safety

· $18,000 for body armor for Deputy Sheriffs across the state

Department of Taxation

· $250,000 for research studies and operations of the Tax Review Commission

Department of Transportation

· $36,695,000 in FY 2016 and $35,401,000 in FY 2017 to address special maintenance projects at the airports, statewide. This includes runway re-pavement, terminal renovations, interior upgrades, bathroom restorations, replacement fire alarms, and building repairs

· $13,560,000 in FY 2016 and FY 2017 for special maintenance repairs to the Harbors; including structural pier repairs and pavement repairs

· $921,000 to maintain zipper lane operations

· $70,943,000 in FY 2016 and FY 2017 for highway road repair and maintenance projects, statewide

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