• Hawai'i House Democrats

Floor Remarks of Representative Sylvia Luke on HB 1600, Relating to the State Budget



May 3, 2022

FLOOR REMARKS OF REPRESENTATIVE SYLVIA LUKE

DURING THE HOUSE FLOOR SESSION ON HB 1600, RELATING TO THE STATE BUDGET


Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in favor of HB 1600, HD1, SD2, CD1.

This budget includes $8.7 billion in general funds and $16.9 billion in all methods of funding (MOF). It also includes around $6 billion in CIP.

Let me first begin by thanking my staff. It's not only that they work hard. Their attention to details and in-depth knowledge assists me in producing a good work product for the House. I am grateful to each and every one of them and I would not be able to do what I do without them. Let me introduce them at this time.

I would like to thank the Committee chairs and the members of the Finance Committee. Your dedication and hard work made this budget and many important bills possible.

I want to thank Chair Dela Cruz and his staff for the long hours they spent in crafting this budget with us.

I want to thank the GIA sub-chair who had the difficult job of sorting through many GIA applications and coming out with awards that benefit the entire State.

I want to thank the Vice Chair for his work in passing a CIP budget that provides needed infrastructure and projects within the State. I also specifically want to thank him for being a great partner and guide while making some difficult choices.

Governor John Waihee was recently quoted as saying, this session was a banner year for Native Hawaiians. What he actually said was, "Not just a banner year, a billion-dollar year."

Tyler Gomes, Deputy Director of DHHL was also quoted as saying that they are supremely happy with the commitment made at the beginning of session and that the legislature stuck with it until the end.

And we did Mr. Speaker. When given the opportunity due to increased revenues, we provided the largest total appropriation in history of our State for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

We appropriated $600 million for DHHL to develop lots, purchase lands, and provide down payment and rent subsidies for individuals on the waitlist.

But that wasn't all. Towards the end of session, through your leadership, the State came to a resolution in the Kalima case resulting in a $328 million settlement.

But again that wasn't all. For about a decade the pro rata share of the ceded land revenues to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs remained at $15.1 million. As no real discussion occurred about ceded land revenues, this Legislature made a decision to reset the amount at $21.5 million, not just prospectively but retroactively resulting in $64 million payment to OHA.

And again that wasn't all. We also provided $10 million for homestead services and $20 million for DHHL lot development.

Additionally, to support the perpetuation of culture and history, this budget provided $17.5 million to the Bishop Museum, $2 million for ongoing support to Iolani Palace, $500,000 Kahoolawe Island Reserve and permanent funding for the Aha Moku Council.

--

For the last few years, we have been discussing how to help the ALICE families. AUW report found that some of the largest cost drivers for the ALICE population were taxes, housing and childcare.

By making the EITC permanent in another bill in addition to the $300 tax rebate, a family of four could potentially get $1,600 in tax relief.

As for housing, this Legislature is appropriating $300 million to build rental housing in another bill along with $23 million for a $500 per month housing subsidy for TANF families, and $5 million for home ownership program.

For early learning expenses, this Legislature is providing $200 million to build more preschools, $6.9 million for preschool open doors, and provide Hawaiian medium preschool pathways.

In addition to caring for our ALICE population, this Legislature helped our vulnerable population. For the first time since 2009, we will once again provide adult dental services for the Medicaid population. We are also expanding post-partum coverage from 2 months to 12 months, more money for Kupuna care program, and we will ensure that no girl will ever be without a menstrual product at school. But the sleeper this year is support for sex trafficking victims. This budget not only creates a new sex trafficking abatement office within the Attorney General's office, we are also funding victim witness support services and $400,000 for an emergency shelter for sex trafficking victims.

Of course, we also provided significant funding to support our teachers and schools, protect our natural resources, helped our agricultural industry, appropriated moneys for safety net programs and many other notable things which I won't go through at this time.

I am humbled and grateful that I had the opportunity to finish my last year with this budget and all the other significant bills we are passing today.



###

58 views0 comments