Senate committee trims state budget proposal for FY2014-15

Hawaii State Capitol
Hawaii State Capitol

The Hawaii Senate ways and means committee approved Thursday to adjust the Senate’s state budget proposal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

Committee chair Sen. David Ige says the new totals are lower than originally proposed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as a response to the Council on Revenues’ negative forecast changes.

The bill would reduce the budget for FY2014 by $99 million and limit the budget increase in FY2015 to $41 million, partly by removing cash capital improvement project funds and ongoing repair and maintenance costs.

“There are lots of requests that we decided not to fund in light of the revised revenue forecasts,” Sen. Ige said.

Despite the overall reductions, the committee also made increases to various aspects of the budget proposal, such as adding $17 million for the Dept. of Education’s weighted student formula and Strive HI school performance improvement system. “Our focus was increasing funds that go directly to the schools to help them deal with the myriad challenges they are facing,” Sen. Ige said.

Other highlights include adding $56 million for various programs at University of Hawaii at Manoa, $5 million for the expansion of UH-West Oahu and, for the first time in a decade, adding $5.5 million to raise monthly foster families board rates.

The budget proposal does not include appropriations for $33.5 million in UH salaries, $4.9 million for Kupuna Care and other programs.

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