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House, Senate approve final version of state supplemental budget

Conferees from the state Senate and House of Representatives today approved a final version of the state’s supplemental budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget bill, House Bill 1600, includes an operating budget of $16.9 billion for fiscal year 2023; a combined $6 billion in capital improvement project budget for both fiscal years 2022 and 2023; and $48.9 million in grants-in-aid.

“The State’s financial forecast looks bright as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Mililani Mauka), who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, in a statement. “With the economy rebounding, the Legislature is able to be strategic and forward-thinking while also providing much-needed funding for projects and initiatives that aim to address some of Hawaiʻi’s most critical issues.”

HB 1600 will go to the floor of both chambers for a final vote before being sent to Gov. David Ige’s office for his approval.

“This budget scenario is completely different than what we were faced with last year,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), chair of the House Finance Committee, in a statement. “With the recent reporting from the Council on Revenues, this budget presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to address many of the state’s unmet needs, including nearly $20 million more in grants-in-aid.”

Some highlights of the bill include:

>>The Department of Education will receive $32.5 million to address hard-to-staff concerns in certain areas, recruiting and retaining teachers for special education, Hawaiian language immersion and other areas of need. The School Facilities Authority will also receive $256 million for repair and maintenance projects statewide and $355 million in federal funding for a new East Kapolei High School.

>> The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will receive $10 million for the planning and development for Hawaiian homesteads and $20 million for lot development across the state.

>> The Department of Human Services will get $4 million annually to increase the Temporary Assistance for Other Needy Families program allotment level of assistance per family. It will also get $10 million for the renovation and improvement of public housing facilities projects statewide and another $10 million to develop 300 mixed income units and 300 leasehold units on Mayor Wright Homes public housing property.

>> The Department of Health will receive $5 million for COVID-19 testing, $16.3 million for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and $14 million for the Hawaii State Laboratory to modernize its lab facility. It will also receive $24.1 million for Maui Memorial Medical Center renovations, expansion and improvements.

>> The Department of Land and Natural Resources will receive $3 million for Public Lands Management expenses. It will also get $13.5 million in special funds for the demolition of the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel, $8 million for watershed protection and restoration statewide and another $8 million for improvements to the Kawaihae North Small Boat Harbor harbor dock and break wall.

>> The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will receive $321 million for the Unemployment Insurance Benefit Payment Program to increase unemployment benefit payments.

>> The Department of Budget and Finance will receive $335 million to restore prefunding of post-employment benefits. It will also get $115.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to construct and deploy broadband infrastructure across the state.

>> The Department of Agriculture will receive $5 million for improvements to the Waiahole water system and $4 million for improvements to agricultural infrastructure on Oahu. It will also get $26 million to upgrade the Wahiawa Dam and Spillway and purchase lands in fee simple interest.

>> The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism will receive $350 million for a new stadium in Halawa and $41.5 million for DHHL affordable rental housing. It will also receive $17.8 million for the First Responders Technology Campus and Cybersecurity Data Center.

>> The Department of Transportation will receive $17.4 million to revitalize the Wiki-Wiki Bus Program for transportation at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and $2.4 million for increasing costs of utilities, safety, maintenance and janitorial supplies at Kahului Airport, Molokai Airport, Lanai Airport and Kapalua Airport. It will get $189.4 million for airfield improvements statewide and $95 million for improvements to the Honolulu airport.

>> The University of Hawaii will receive $7.2 million and $800,000 for UH Manoa and UH Hilo Athletics, respectively, $1.7 million to expand the John A. Burns School of Medicine graduate residency program for neighbor island rotations and $2.9 million for 14 positions for the Imi Loa Immersion Program and UH Hilo. It will also have $50 million for renewal, modernization and repair projects statewide and $11.5 million for repairs and improvements to the Waikiki Aquarium.

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