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Senate earmarks housing projects and tax relief in two-year $38B budget

AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy, File

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee has built out portions of the state’s biennium budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. That amounts to about $38 billion.

"This Senate draft is intended to create a tipping point in addressing many of Hawaiʻi’s most pressing issues,” Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz of Oʻahu said in a release. “In support of the Green Administration's priorities, we believe that we are putting forth a budget that will ensure that the people who call Hawaiʻi home will not just survive but thrive.”

The budget retains the House of Representatives budget initiatives to address deferred maintenance.

Dela Cruz, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, said the Senate’s version of the budget earmarks a billion dollars worth of housing and transit-oriented developments and assistance, as proposed on opening day by Gov. Josh Green.

"In the Senate budget, we provide further details on the governor's promise to the state," Dela Cruz said Thursday. "The Senate has earmarked $1 billion worth of projects intended to meet a wide spectrum of economic need which includes housing and transit oriented developed infrastructure, teacher workforce housing, rent supplement assistance for low income families, dwelling unit revolving fund loans and infrastructure projects rental housing revolving fund for low income individuals and families, ʻohana zones and kauhale to support our most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals."

In accordance with Green's campaign promises, the Senate also allocated $30 million for a loan repayment program for health care professionals.

Green has touted the "Green Affordability Plan" as a tax relief structure meant to increase tax credits and deductions for low and medium income taxpayers. The Senate draft commits $354 million in FY24 and $338 million in FY25 in tax relief and exemptions for the program.

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