Green proposes millions for housing, climate change in budget request
by Merrilee Gasser, The Center Square, Feb 14, 2023
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green is asking lawmakers for $970 million in the state budget for what he calls the state's "greatest ongoing challenge."
The governor's budget request for affordable housing includes $12.5 million for the state rent supplement program, $20 million for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to use for statewide public housing development, improvements and renovations and $40 million each fiscal year for repairs and maintenance for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands existing infrastructure.
"The state is in a strong financial position, and we need to act now to provide the relief that many people in Hawaii need," the governor said. "These budget requests in combination with my legislative proposals will immediately and directly help families, reduce the cost of living, provide essential healthcare services, and protect our climate and future of Hawaii."
The governor announced last month he wants a $100 million fund to address climate change.
Green's budget includes 13 new positions that would "support capacity for climate justice and climate change mitigation" and $25 million to finance clean energy technology and infrastructure projects.
Among the governor's education initiatives is increasing preschool access by providing $38.8 million for each fiscal year to the Preschool Open Doors Expansion.
The governor wants $15 million in 2024, plus an additional $10 million in 2025, for the Department of Education to use applied behavior analysis on students with "significant behavioral or social communication deficits," according to the proposal. Green also wants to add 25 positions in 2024 and cover 50 positions in 2025 for bilingual and bicultural school home assistants.
The governor's budget request seeks $25 million in 2024, and $20 million in 2025, to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to 100% of Medicare, which he said would bring an additional $42 million in federal funds each year. Other health care spending would support various medical centers and $12.3 million for the Department of Health to cover increased mental health services.
Additionally, Green has asked the legislature to consider $36 million to "modernize" the state's unemployment insurance system. Another $9 million is being sought to consolidate government offices at the Kahului Civic Center on Maui to make public services all in one place.
The Council on Revenue reduced the state's general tax fund revenue projections from 6.5% to 5.5 % in fiscal year 2023 after the COR did not account for nearly $309 million in income tax refunds issued to Hawaii residents last year. Residents who made less than $200,000 a year received $300 and those making more than $200,000 received $100.
The COR increased revenue projects for fiscal year 2024 from 4% to 5% of the state's general tax fund.
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GOVERNOR’S BUDGET REQUESTS FILED WITH THE STATE LEGISLATURE
Office of the Governor Press Release, Feb 13, 2023
HONOLULU, HI ̶ Governor Josh Green, M.D. transmitted additional budget requests to the Legislature today.
These requests support the Governor’s priorities for affordable housing and infrastructure, reducing homelessness, protecting natural resources and climate, education, improving access to healthcare including mental health services, government efficiency, and reducing the cost of living.
“The state is in a strong financial position, and we need to act now to provide the relief that many people in Hawai‘i need. These budget requests in combination with my legislative proposals will immediately and directly help families, reduce the cost of living, provide essential healthcare services, and protect our climate and future of Hawai‘i,” said Gov. Josh Green.
Key highlights include:
Infrastructure and Housing
$900 million for Hawai‘i Housing Finance Development Corporation programs to support affordable housing and infrastructure across the state
$40 million in each fiscal year for lump sum repairs and maintenance for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands existing infrastructure statewide
$12.5 million for the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority State Rent Supplement Program
$20 million for Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority statewide public housing development, improvements, and renovations statewide
$12.3 million to provide additional funding to the Department of Health to provide additional resources for mental health services throughout the state
$5 million for plans for a new facility at the Hawai‘i State Hospital for secure and semi-secure stabilization beds for individuals that have behavioral health issues
$7.5 million to support the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital New Psychiatric Unit, Phase 1 on Kaua‘i
$5 million in fiscal year 2024 for plans to consolidate the Health Care Unit operations at Hālawa Correctional Facility. to provide services including counseling, mental and medical evaluation
$25 million in fiscal year 2024 and $20 million in fiscal year 2025 to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates up to 100% of Medicare. These state funds will bring in an additional $42 million in federal funds in each fiscal year and ensure access to high-quality healthcare for our Medicaid population.
Environment and Agriculture
$3 million for Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Control
$22.5 million in fiscal year 2024 for the Wahiawā Irrigation System, Wahiawā
Dam and Lake Wilson Reservoir to provide agricultural water for farmers
13 positions and $434,668 in fiscal year 2024 and $793,980 in fiscal year 2025 to support capacity for climate justice and climate change mitigation and adaptation activities statewide to build a more resilient Hawai‘i that protects our communities, economy, way of life, and future
$4 million for statewide trail restoration and maintenance to protect natural resources and preserve our islands
$6.2 million for watershed protection across our state
$25 million for the Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund to provide financing for clean energy technology and infrastructure projects statewide
$4 million to construct and repair deep monitor wells statewide, including monitoring the health of the drinking water aquifers
$7 million for the Maunawili Acquisition to protect and restore important cultural, agricultural, recreational and forest resources
$15 million in fiscal year 2024 and $10 million in fiscal year 2025 for the Department of Education to support applied behavior analysis services for students with significant behavioral or social-communication deficits across schools statewide
$6 million in each fiscal year for the Department of Education for skilled nursing services for the Department
$1.7 million in each fiscal year for the Department of Education for the physical and mental health direct service referral management system of care, to ensure all students across the state receive on-demand and scheduled care, treatment planning, care management and crisis consultation
25 positions in FY 24 and 50 positions in FY 25 and $1.1 million and $2.1 million, respectively, to expand Bilingual/Bicultural School Home Assistants across DOE schools
$38.8 million in each fiscal year for the Preschool Open Doors Expansion to support preschool access for our keiki
$5 million for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to support digital equity and access to broadband in our rural and unserved communities
$9 million in fiscal year 2024 for the Kahului Civic Center on Maui which will consolidate government offices to a one-stop location for public services
$36 million to modernize our unemployment insurance system
Full details can be found in the Governor’s Budget Message posted here.
SoR: Hawaii Gov. Josh Green submits additional budget requests for housing and healthcare initiatives