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State Budget Highlights for Senate District 8

06.09.2016

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 3, 2016


Honolulu, Hawai’i – Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, representing Senate District 8, is pleased to announce that the Hawai’i State Senate adopted on final reading the State Budget on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Homelessness, affordable housing, education, economic sustainability, and health care are among the many issues the Democratic Majority focused on this legislative session.

Through hours of deliberation and consideration, Kauai will see approximately $105 million in Operating and Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds for Fiscal Year 2016-2017, of which $19 million will be directly distributed to the County of Kaua’i for various CIP projects.

As a former Councilmember, Senate President Kouchi understands the importance of working with the Counties in supporting their programs servicing both residents and visitors alike. “While the Counties share of the Transient Accommodations Tax was extended for another year and will not expect a budgetary increase to its General Fund this year, I have worked diligently with the County in seeking additional funding for various Kaua’i County CIP projects,” said Senate President Kouchi.

The $19 million in direct CIP funding will be allocated to the County of Kaua’i as follows:

  • Lima Ola Affordable Housing Project – $13 million
  • Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center – $5 million
  • Lihue/Kapaa Water System Homesteads Well No. 4 Project – $750,000
  • Kauai Veterans Cemetery Communal Hall – $700,000

Recognizing that homelessness and affordable housing are conjointly one of the most pressing and critical issue our State is currently facing, Senate President Kouchi met with each County Housing Agency and wholeheartedly supported the funding of shovel-ready affordable housing projects in each County. “In speaking with Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., the Lima Ola affordable housing project is a top priority which will provide many working families new and affordable residences on the west side of Kaua’i,” said Senate President Kouchi. To address homelessness, a revised amount of $12 million was added to the budget for homeless service programs state-wide.

Of the remaining $86 million of Operating and CIP funding for Kaua’i, the following projects will be funded:

  • Kapaa Middle School Window Retrofit Hurricane Shelter Hardening- $1,800,000
  • East Kaua’i Irrigation System – $75,000
  • Kaua’i Nene Pilot Project – $500,000
  • Water Storage Infrastructure for the Lihue area – $3,000,000
  • Kaua’i Community College’s Culinary Arts Program – $2,000,000
  • Kekaha Irrigation System Upgrades and Improvements – $5,000,000
  • Waimea Canyon Middle School Covered Play Court – $1,390,000
  • Wilcox Elementary School Playground Improvements – $200,000
  • Peekauai Ditch Maintenance – $200,000
  • Kaua’i Community Correctional Center – $16,000,000
  • State Highways, Harbors and Airports Total – $56,274,000

Additionally, $1.2 million in Grant-In-Aid (GIA) funding was awarded to the following Kaua’i organizations:

  • Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill – $247,000 (Operating GIA)
  • Kaua’i Economic Opportunity, Inc. – $33,500 (Operating GIA)
  • Kaua’i Hospice, Inc. – $137,500 (Operating GIA)
  • Kumano I Ke Ala o Makaweli – $100,000 (Operating GIA)
  • Malama Pono Health Services – $200,000 (Operating GIA)
  • Aha Hui E Kala – $500,000 (CIP GIA)

To provide relief for member-owners of the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), the legislature approved to make permanent the fuel tax rate for power-generating naphtha fuel retroactive to January 1, 2016. This measure will save KIUC rate payers approximately $4 million annually.

Furthermore, the state budget appropriates an additional $10 million for Hawai’i State Hospitals to cover any shortfalls, assuring there will be no layoffs expected in the ensuing year for the Kaua’i Veterans Memorial Hospital and the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital.

Funds have also been appropriated to honor our Vietnam veteran’s fiftieth anniversary commemoration and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

After the adjournment of session on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Senate President Kouchi stated “It is with deepest gratitude that I thank Representatives James T. Tokioka, Derek S. K. Kawakami, and Daynette Morikawa for their tireless efforts. Our ability to collectively work as a team resulted in constructive legislation and much needed resources for our community this legislative session. I would also like to thank the Kaua’i and Ni’ihau community for their support and for allowing me to continue serving as their State Senator.”