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Ige unveils 2019 state budget request

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    Gov. David Ige speaks at a press conference in November. Ige presented his latest budget proposal today.

Gov. David Ige presented his latest budget proposal to the media today, announcing a package that increases state spending next year by $85.5 million to a total of nearly $14.4 billion.

The administration also proposed a separate construction budget of nearly $1.5 billion for next year, including an extra $50 million for the Rental Housing Trust Fund next year, and $29 million to develop new public housing and upgrade existing public housing projects.

Ige predicted the extra construction spending will have a “broad economic impact” on the state by supporting about 14,000 jobs, including 5,520 in the state construction industry.

Ige is also proposing to increase state spending to cope with homelessness, including an extra $6 million to continue the state’s Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing programs for the homeless, and $5 million for property storage and trash removal for sweeps of homeless camps.

Ige is also asking lawmakers for authority to spend another $419,000 for eight additional state deputy sheriffs to run homeless operations and sweeps, and is seeking $800,000 for outreach and counseling for chronically homeless people and families with “severe substance abuse disorders.”

Under Ige’s plan the state would spend about $175 million more from the general treasury than it will collect in taxes and other revenues in the year that begins July 1. His spending plan would leave the state with a general fund cash balance of nearly $655 million when next fiscal year ends on June 30, 2019.

That cash balance is a significant reduction from the $894 million the state had on hand when it closed the books on the last fiscal year on June 30. However, it is comparable to the cash balance the state had on hand the year Ige entered office as governor, when the state closed out fiscal 2014 with a general treasury balance of $664 million.

Ige has submitted his proposed supplemental budget to the state Legislature, which will make amendments to his proposal during the regular session that begins Jan. 17.

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