HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. Josh Green laid out his vision for Hawaii during his first State of the State address.
Attending the event on Monday, Jan. 23, were lawmakers, invited guests and members of the public.
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Green also addressed the actions that have already been taken as he enters day 49 of his administration.
In order to move Hawaii forward, Green said his budget priorities will include issues on housing, homelessness, cost of living, climate and mental health.
“Each day without action means another family is forced to leave to the mainland,” said Green as he focused on the importance of lowering the cost of living.
Green said his administration’s top priority will focus on housing across all segments of Hawaii from renters to those experiencing homelessness.
In his first state of the state address, Gov. Josh Green said he’s launching a new era of bold action.
“Business as usual won’t work anymore,” said Gov. Josh Green. “There’s simply too much on the line to accept the status quo.”
The Governor is looking for permanent solutions for homelessness and affordable housing. He’s proposing more than $1 billion of new investments for affordable housing to upgrade public housing units and provide subsidies to low-income families. Green adds, 12 Kauhale or villages will be built across the state for houseless families.
Green received a standing ovation after he signed an emergency proclamation on homelessness during his speech.
“This emergency proclamation will streamline construction and processes for housing, low-impact housing. It removes unnecessary barriers. It removes red tape. And, we’ve done this before together; and it worked,” Green said.
The Governor laid out the Green Affordability Plan to lower the cost of living in Hawaii. If adopted by the Legislature, the GAP bill will provide over $300 million in tax relief. For example, under the proposal, a family of four would receive $2,000 in savings.
“It would be tax breaks for every single income bracket in our state, they would be paying less taxes under this plan. This is where we’re focusing our energy,” said Green.
Lawmakers are calling Gov. Green’s first State of the State address a homerun, hitting on many important issues in Hawaii that the House and Senate are supporting.
“You know we got 50 percent of our population that is on the teetering poverty line. That’s wrong. We got to do a better job. So, on those two things, I feel very, very confident that this guy means business,” said Rep. Gene Ward (R) Portlock, Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley.
However, lawmakers said while they support the proposals, they’ll have to see more details before moving forward.
“We are now just vetting our budget for this year with all the committees. So, without seeing all the information in the package, it’s hard to say. I mean, it’s good what he’s said; and most of us support it,” said Sen. Michelle Kidani, (D) Senate Vice President.
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Other big-ticket items included in Green’s speech were building a new Aloha Stadium and OCCC as well as defueling Red Hill.