HONOLULU — A $28 billion budget for the next two fiscal years was approved Tuesday for the state of Hawaii.
House Bill 100 was passed by the House and the Senate.
For fiscal year 2018, the budget is set for $14.1 billion. In FY 2019, the budget is $14.3 billion, according to the bill. The budget includes funds for homelessness services and enforcing rules prohibiting living on sidewalks than they did last year.
”We are moving in a very positive direction and hope we can soon see results in protection of our kupuna, children and the homeless,” said Rep. Dee Morikawa, D-16. “The biggest disappointment was losing the rail funding bill, which would have brought in more funding to the county.”
Included in the budget is the allocation $158,472 for pesticide regulation and three Department of Agriculture positions for pesticide compliance in FY 2019. Schools are seeing an infusion at least $386 million for construction and improvements statewide.
On homelessness, lawmakers set aside $16.6 million for 2018, well above the $12 million spent in 2017, according to figures provided by Scott Morishige, the governor’s coordinator on homelessness. They only set aside about $4 million for 2019, but advocates will have a chance to push for more money next year, Morishige said.
State lawmakers last year committed to create 22,500 new affordable housing units in a decade, but the $25 million in bonds for affordable rentals that lawmakers approved Tuesday, along with money from taxes that fund development, will only support about 400 new rental units, said housing advocate Catherine Graham, co-chair of the Housing Now Coalition.
“In this climate, it’s kind of death to affordable housing,” Graham said.
In addition to $25 million for the rental housing revolving fund Graham referred to, lawmakers also approved $25 million for the dwelling unit revolving fund that helps developers building homes for sale and $17.6 million for public housing developments and renovations, along with funds for Habitat for Humanity.
The committee also added $1 million to the budget for the Department of Health to fight rat lungworm disease.
“On the human services side, there is substantial funding for the Housing First Program, homeless outreach services and legal services for homeless persons,” Morikawa said. “In addition, there will be a working group established to examine and develop recommendations for creating safe zones for our homeless populations.”
HB 100 also contains the proposed Capital Improvement Project budget.
For Hawaii, the proposed CIP budget is $1.9 billion for FY 2018 and $926 million for FY 2019.
For the Garden Isle, Kauai representatives secured $167.5 million in CIP funds.
The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $67.6 million for rehabilitation and replacement projects along Kuhio Highway and $42.6 million for Lihue Airport improvements, including land acquisition and ticket and lobby holdroom improvements.
The House also provided $7.5 million for improvements at Nawiliwili Harbor.
As for state highways on Kauai, the CIP funds will be used to make guardrail and shoulder upgrades.
The state also wants to improve Kapule Highway, Rice Street and Waapa Road.
Bridges at Wailua River, Nawiliwili, Omao, Kapapia Stream, Waioli, Waipa, Waikoko and Hanalei bridges are marked for upgrades or replacements.
In the next fiscal years, money will also be allocated to replace Wainiha bridges, numbers one, two and three.
The state also wants to make traffic operational improvements to highway intersections by modifying or installing traffic signals and establishing turning lanes.
In schools, the state found money to build a new gym at Kapaa High School, a new locker room for Kauai High School and upgrades to Kauai Community College.
The budget will now go to Gov. David Ige for his signature.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.