Hawaiʻi Gov. Green signs $37.2 billion biennium operating budget; extends family tax credits
On Friday, Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green signed a $37.3 billion biennium state operating budget for fiscal years 24 and 25.
The budget appropriates $10.7 billion in FY 24 and $9.8 billion in FY25 for general funds; $19 billion in FY24 and $18.2 billion in FY25 for executive branch departments and agencies for the operating budget.
The budget also appropriates $2.9 billion in FY24 and $1.3 billion in FY25 for capital improvement projects.
Green provided official notice to lawmakers on Thursday his final line-item reductions and vetoes.
Green also signed HB954 (Act 163) that provides $104 million of income support to local taxpayers, many of whom will receive tax refunds worth thousands of dollars.
The bill doubles the size of the Earned Income Tax Credit for five years, providing $50 million in additional support. The bill also doubles the amount of the Food Excise Tax Credit, benefitting an additional 90,000 of the most economically vulnerable residents in the state.
Working families who struggle to pay for child or dependent care will receive a refundable credit of up to $3,000.
“The budget and tax bills truly represent cooperation between the [Green] Administration, 76 legislators and the general public,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a press release. “They will deliver direct relief to over 200,000 families, our statewide parks and trails, our climate, and unsheltered individuals in need of mental health assistance.”
Green’s Administration said these are among the budget’s highlights:
- Developing affordable housing and infrastructure: The budget appropriates $280 million to the Hawaiʻi Housing Finance Development Corporation Rental Housing Revolving fund to develop more affordable housing units, $100 million to the Dwelling Unit Revolving fund to develop infrastructure and support for affordable housing, more than $70 million to develop infrastructure, $50 million for teacher housing and $6 million for the state rent supplement program to help eligible families pay part of their monthly rent.
- Medical and other types of care: This budget increases the provider reimbursement rate for Medicaid recipients ($30 million in general funds and $42.8 million in federal funds each fiscal year). This means that thousands of low-income individuals and families will get better access to high-quality healthcare. This budget also appropriates $7.8 million over the next to fiscal years for the Child Wellness Incentive Program, which will pay $50 to state Medicaid benefit recipients for each completed well-child examination. This will incentivize more early care for children.
- Addressing homelessness: The budget takes a multi-faceted approach to address homelessness by providing funds for family assessment centers ($3.1 million), housing first and rapid re-housing programs ($15 million), homeless outreach services ($3.5 million), ‘ohana zones ($15 million) and kauhale ($48 million).
- Expanding healthcare services: To help recruit and retain the health care workers we need for our residents, we are making big investments ($30 million) in the Hawaiʻi State Loan Repayment Program. This program helps pay off educational loans for healthcare workers, including social workers, therapists, and many others who care for patients in Hawaiʻi in areas where there is a healthcare shortage. It also appropriates $50 million to expand the Intensive Care Unit and Medical Surgical Unit at Hilo Medical Center, $2.3 million for the Kona community Hospital Pharmacy Expansion, and nearly $30 million for Hawaiʻi Health Systems statewide to improve and renovate hospitals.
- Preserving the island: The budget appropriates more than $100 million for climate, energy and the environment. Substantial investments are made to protect natural resources ($20 million), restore our state parks ($25 million) and ecosystems ($14.8 million). It funds the Climate Change Carbon Smart Land Management Assistant Pilot Program, which promotes carbon sequestration through forest conservation, farmland preservation, and other regenerative land management practices ($2 million). And it appropriates $50 million to the Hawaiʻi Green infrastructure Authority’s Solar Energy Storage Loan Program to increase loan opportunities for ALICE households for the installation of solar panels and battery storage systems ($50 million).
- Educating children: The budget provides $38.8 million to the Preschool Open Doors Program which will expand assistance to eligible families to pay for preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, and 36 positions and $3.9 million in FY24 and 126 positions and $7.6 million in FY25 for preschool teachers, educational specialists and assistants for the Public Prekindergarten Program. It also provides 13 additional positions and $1.2 million for bilingual and bicultural school home assistants across schools statewide and $5 million for classroom supplies.
The bills signed:
HB954 HD2 SD2 CD1, Relating to Taxation (Act 163)
Increases the household and dependent care services tax credit for five years. Increases the refundable earned income tax credit for five years. Increases the income thresholds and credit amounts of the refundable food/excise tax credit for five years.
HB300 HD1 SD1 CD1, Relating to the State Budget (Act 164)
Appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2023-2024 and 2024-2025.