House and Senate conferees on Friday approved a final version of the state budget bill, which includes operating and capital improvement monies to run the state government.
HB1900 HD1 SD1 puts a priority on appropriating funds for critical health and human service needs that will benefit residents statewide, a press release issued Friday afternoon by the Legislature said. The bill goes before the Legislature this week for a vote. If approved, it will then be sent to the governor for his signature.
House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke said the budget provides $15 million to fund homeless services, $3 million more than requested by Gov. David Ige, to allow the state the flexibility needed to take decisive action and systematically address long-standing problems in the community.
“Instead of dividing various amounts for separate programs, the state Homeless Programs Office needs the flexibility to decide where best to use the money. The state cannot be rigid, especially with our homeless population. It must be able to move funds around to take care of circumstances as they come up,” said Luke (D-Oahu).
The committee also agreed on funding $4.5 million to provide three new ambulances and staff for Kauai, Hawaii Island and Honolulu; a $28 million operating subsidy for the Maui Health System; and $3.8 million in additional funds for the Kupuna Care program and $1.2 million more for the Kupuna Caregiver Fund.
Highlights from the agreement reached by the state House and Senate include:
$150,000 to establish a motor vehicle replacement schedule for neighbor island school repair and maintenance.
$1.5 million for the accelerator program to aid development of local businesses.
$500,000 to provide additional support to English language learners.
$400,000 for the teacher certification stipend program to help increase the number of qualified public-school teachers.
$4.5 million for three new ambulances, 1 each for County of Kauai, County of Hawaii, and the City and County of Honolulu.
$500,000 to support fire response activities for DOFAW across the state.
$800,000 to combat the spread of rapid ohia death on Hawaii Island.
$260,000 to support the apprentice program at the University of Hawaii, Community Colleges.
$750,000 and eight positions for student success initiative at University of Hawaii, Community Colleges.