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Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Budget: Who Will Gut the Taxpayers? —Unions, Rail, HIDOT?
By News Release @ 6:41 PM :: 2502 Views :: Hawaii State Government

Who Will Gut the Taxpayers? —Unions, Rail, HIDOT—or all Three?

Ige Leaves Tax Hikes to Legislature

SA: Ige said his budget for the two-year period that begins July 1 does not include any new tax increases….

The spending plan’s first year is a 4 percent increase over this year….

Ige also announced his administration has reached an agreement with the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers unions that clears the way for severance payments to hospital workers who will lose their state jobs when three Maui County state medical facilities are privatized.

Those severance payments are expected to cost the state between $27 million and $33 million, according to Wesley Machida, director of the state Department of Budget and Finance….

MN: Ige’s budget taps $9.5M for Maui hospitals 

read … Ige unveils proposed $28.5B state budget

City rail, state highways to vie for tax hike funds 

KHON: Ige says both city and state transportation projects need more from taxpayers, but how that tab is collected is up in the air for now, though he’s committed to making a federal deadline on the rail project coming up this spring.”

read … City rail, state highways to vie for tax hike funds 

Legislative leaders warn that state revenues have slowed and pay raises for unions are not factored into the governor’s proposed budget 

CB: When it comes to the state budget, Tokuda called for “prudence” while Luke called for “a conservative approach.”

Both also said they were surprised that there has been no indication of providing pay raises for the 14 units of the state’s four public-sector unions whose contracts are up next year.

Ige acknowledged that there are no pay raises identified in his budget. But he said his administration is working “to get a fair settlement with all of the unions” — the matter is currently in negotiations — while at the same time trying to balance the financial needs of the state and to invest in ways to grow the economy. 

Still, Luke said it was unwise for the governor to not have factored in pay hikes for labor costs. She said it puts the administration in “a difficult position that pretty much forces negotiations into arbitration” that would largely leave the administration out of the final equation.

“I think it is foolish to think that there would be no raise,” said Luke.

Tokuda called the missing dollar figure for employee raises “a large X-factor” that makes it difficult for legislators to accommodate other expenses.

Big Q: Do you like the Ige administration’s message to public unions to lower pay-raise expectations?

read … Legislative leaders warn 

  *   *   *   *   *

GOVERNOR IGE’S BUDGET PROPOSAL HIGHLIGHTS EDUCATION, HOUSING/HOMELESSNESS, SUSTAINABILITY

News Release from Office of the Governor, Dec 19, 2016

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige today submitted his executive biennium budget to the State Legislature. The package highlights his top budget priorities for the next two years, including education, homelessness and affordable housing, and Sustainable Hawai‘i initiatives.

OPERATING BUDGET:

The operating budget proposal includes $14.2 billion (all revenue sources) for FY 2018, an increase of four percent and $14.3 billion (all revenue sources), an increase of 5 percent for FY 2019.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS BUDGET:

The capital improvements proposal includes $2.3 billion for FY 18 and $781.8 million for FY 19.

“This budget proposal aims to balance our state’s current needs with our investments for the future – providing basic needs for our residents such as affordable housing, quality public schools, primary healthcare and essential social services,” said Gov. Ige.

PRIORITIES:

Education:

The governor’s proposal includes the highest instructional budget allocation ever — $28 million each year to the Weighted Student Formula, $10 million annually for the new Innovation Grant Program and $9 million ($3M in FY 18 and $6M in FY 19) for Early College programs.

Gov. Ige is also proposing $800 million for new schools and classrooms, as well as repair and maintenance of Department of Education campuses, UH campuses and libraries. This includes $61.7 million in FY 18 for heat abatement statewide and $373.6 million in FY 18 to address classroom capacity issues (including $264.7M for new schools).

“Our future begins with our investment in education which is tied to economic growth. It is a top priority. We continue to focus on the classrooms and schools. We continue our push for cooler classrooms. No one is more disappointed than I that we haven’t met our goals due to initial high costs,” Ige said.

Housing and Homelessness:

Gov. Ige is proposing an investment of more than $123.4 million in new housing projects and $59 million for public housing improvements.

For the homelessness effort, the governor is asking for $20.9 million annually for rent subsidies, supportive and outreach services. The legislature appropriated $12 million for homelessness programs in the current fiscal year.

“We have made great strides in collaboration, where all parts of the system are working together toward the same objective of moving people from homelessness to permanent supportive housing,” Gov. Ige said.

Sustainable Hawai‘i:

The budget proposal dedicates more than $30 million in operating funds to agricultural and natural resources and $31 million in CIP funds for sustainability initiatives, including $7.5 million for the Watershed Initiative.

“Our goal is to protect our forests, water and other natural resources while working to double our local food production and grow our economy,” Ige said.

“We hope to work collaboratively with state lawmakers on our budget proposal as we shape the future of our state.”

###

FULL TEXT: BUDGET

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