HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige on Tuesday outlined a plan to boost preschool education, housing and tax relief for families as he delivered his annual state of the state address. Ige and state lawmakers jointly announced the package of proposals last week before the Legislature convened.
Ige said increasing the minimum wage to $13 per hour, together with tax relief, could result in an annual cash benefit of $4,400 to each worker.
“We believe we have hit the sweet spot that will make a difference for our working families,” Ige told lawmakers.
On housing, Ige said leaders propose to build 17,000 leasehold homes on state-owned land in partnership with private developers. To help this effort, the state would invest $200 million in roads and infrastructure on state land in West Oahu. The plan would spend $75 million on affordable housing on islands other than Oahu.
The governor says he wants every three- and four-year old in Hawaii to have the opportunity to attend childcare or preschool program by the end of the decade. He noted about 20,000 children statewide currently don’t have that chance. “Business as usual is not acceptable,” he said.
He began his address with a moment of silence for two Honolulu Police Department Officers killed on Sunday.
He used the Hawaiian word for family as he spoke to Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, who was in the audience. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the HPD ohana and with the families of these two brave officers.” The audience stood and applauded for Ballard when she was introduced.