Gov., lawmakers talk about budget and money from CARES Act

Coronavirus

Governor David Ige outlined how he plans to split $1.25-billion in federal CARES Act funding. Money going to the state and the counties to help deal with the fallout of the pandemic.

About $860-million of that money is for the state’s response, prevention, and recovery activities. From that amount, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii Island will receive a combined total of $175-million. Oahu is getting about $380-million.

“This can be used for first responders, contact tracing, testing, emergency medical services, and other direct response activities,” said Governor Ige.

$100-million will be for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. And $20-million will go to the Transportation Department for thermal screenings. The Governor also intends to use the remaining balance of about $550-million for unemployment benefits.

The state legislature reconvened on Monday. Lawmakers unveiled a plan to deal with a billion-dollar shortfall. They plan to use about $395-million from the state’s rainy day fund. Another $250-million will come from the rental housing trust fund and $20-million from Aloha Stadium. The money will be replaced with general obligation bonds so that there is no impact.

“There’s about $137-million worth in lapses, that’s from restrictions and savings and vacancies, from all departments, expect the Department of Education. DOE has identified $150-million worth of lapses. In the second year, there’s $71-million that’s carried over for the same vacancy savings,” said Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Ways and Means Committee Chair.

Lawmakers also plan to take $25-million from the mental health and substance abuse fund, money they say is not being used.

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