House Speaker Scott Saiki joined the COVID-19 Care Conversation to talk about the legislature’s recent funding decisions and to address the public’s concern for moving some of the CARES Act money into the state’s rainy day fund.
According to Saiki, the State of Hawaii received federal CARES Act funds that were distributed into two buckets. The first was a $1.25 billion lump sum, which was shared with the counties, while the other is a growing number, currently at approximately $5 billion.
Of the $1.25 billion lump sum, the City and County of Honolulu received $147 million. An additional $164 million was provided to neighbor island counties, a decision voluntarily made by the legislature. The remaining $650 million was deposited into the state’s rainy day fund. Saiki said the $164 million was specifically distributed to the neighbor island county mayors in order to provide its residents immediate relief for needs such as food, housing, and child care services.
When asked why the legislature decided to deposit the $650 million into the rainy day fund, Saiki shared that lawmakers did not want to rush spending all of the $1.25 billion, which was a one-time payment from the federal government. At this time, it is unclear whether additional federal support for the states will be provided. “There will be continuing needs in our community and we want to be prepared to be able to fund those needs,” he said.
The legislature plans to reconvene on June 15. At that time, lawmakers will decide how to appropriate the state’s rainy day funds.
Saiki said that funding decisions will be made collaboratively between the administration and the legislature. He mentioned that the legislature’s involvement was important because its 67 members have a pulse on the needs of their communities.
Join us Monday when Gov. David Ige will be our guest. Submit your questions through our Facebook page.
The COVID-19 Care Conversation, live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji, will discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.
The COVID-19 Care Conversation, sponsored by Hawai’i Executive Collaborative and Hawaii Pacific Health, airs live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji discuss the latest news, resources and community concerns about the coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.