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State budget clears multiple hurdles

LIHU‘E — A final version of the state budget awaits votes in both chambers of the state Legislature after two committees approved the spending blueprint for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years.

The budget provides appropriations for the general fund of $11.3 billion for the 2024 fiscal year and $10.4 billion for the 2025 fiscal year. Lawmakers said Wednesday that the spending plan was approved by Senate and House conferees on Tuesday evening. The votes were unanimous.

The budget also appropriates $144,967,000 to the County of Kaua‘i for capital improvement projects, ranging from $56.452 million for land acquisition and work at Lihu‘e Airport to $100,000 for a water system upgrade and other projects at Lehua Island Seabird Sanctuary.

“The budget bill encompasses not only the priorities of the Senate, House and the governor, but it is also reflective of the concerns and issues that matter the most to the people of Hawai‘i,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D-District 17), chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, in a statement on Wednesday.

“In working collaboratively with the governor and our colleagues in both chambers, we are confident this bill will provide opportunities for Hawai‘i residents not just to survive, but to thrive in Hawai‘i.”

The budget, formally known as House Bill 300, also includes capital improvement funds of $2.9 billion for the 2024 fiscal year and $1.3 billion for the 2025 fiscal year. A total of $40 million was appropriated for grant-in-aid requests.

“We have proposed an aggressive yet cautious approach to building this budget. Enormous federal funding that helped all of us survive the pandemic has created an unintended consequence for all states,” said Rep. Kyle T. Yamashita (D-District 12), chair of the House Committee on Finance, in a statement on Wednesday.

“Governments have a rare amount of resources that, if strategically well spent, can pay dividends into the future. This is a budget that focuses on healing and investing in the future,” Yamashita said.


Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or
Source: The Garden Island

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