The Governor submitted his executive budget request to the state legislature today as required by law.
Governor David Ige lowered his executive budget requests for fiscal years 2019 to 2021. The State Council on Revenues projected state general fund growth at 5 percent but the Governor is predicting 3 percent, one-and-a-half percentage points lower.
“The one-and-a-half percent is really about a 150 million to 180 million dollars less in the current fiscal year than currently projected. And that gets compounded each year, so we are establishing guidelines at those lower numbers so that we don’t spend money that we don’t have.”
The Governor’s budget requests 8 billion dollars in state general funds in fiscal year 2020 and 8.3 billion in 2021. He says more than half of state funding pays for fixed costs, including public employee pensions and health benefits, Medicaid and interest on state loans. He says more than one billion dollars will be spent strategically.
“We are investing in those programs that are in the high priority areas like homelessness and education because we do know that they are long-term investments that improve quality of life for our community.”
The Governor’s construction or Capital Improvement budget over the next two years is 3.5 billion dollars. That includes 38 million dollars to build girl locker rooms at public schools statewide and 125 million in state matching funds for a federally funded flood mitigation project along the Ala Wai Canal. But, House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke says the Ala Wai is a City and County project, not state. She also says the legislature will be taking a different approach this coming session.
“What we’re gonna do is performance-based budgets so for everything that is requested, there needs to be good justification of why we’re doing what we need to do and we need to be more responsive to the public. So, whether you’re taking the three-and-a- half percent or five percent, for us, it really depends on how much you’re planning to spend.”
Meanwhile the Governor intends to provide more specifics during his State of the State address to the Legislature January 22nd.
Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.