Governor David Ige says he’s taking a more conservative approach to the budget. He says the state may get about $150 to $180 million less in revenue in the current fiscal year than projected.
The Governor focused on education, which always takes the largest of the state’s budget, and affordable housing to name a few topics. The budget, of course, needs to be approved and we’re told by the House Finance Committee that their approach this year is more performance-based, meaning there needs to be good justification of why they’re spending the money.
Governor Ige has budgeted more than $400 million for public school infrastructure improvements.
“I would like to specifically note that would mean $16.2 million in FY 19 and $22 million in FY 20 for girls athletics locker rooms in high schools all across the state,” said Gov. Ige.
The Early Learning Program is getting the support of $200-thousand. There’s also a budget of $14.3 million for renovations for pre-kindergarten classrooms. House Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia Luke says she supports early education but there’s no state data yet that shows that kids who go to preschool perform better.
“Just because we want more preschools, doesn’t mean we end up creating more preschools if it’s not going to end up as better testing skills better, student performance,” said Rep. Luke.
Governor Ige says affordable housing has been one of the greatest needs. This budget includes $315-million for housing over the next two years. $100-million in both fiscal year 2020 and 2021 for the rental housing revolving fund.
“I would like to note that in the 3 1/2 years that I’ve been governor, we funded 21 affordable rental projects through the rental housing revolving fund,” said Gov. Ige.
Representative Luke wants to know if the $200 million cash the legislature gave last year has been used first.
“If the $200 million has not been used up and it’s still sitting in a pot within a department, then it doesn’t make sense that we are going to be adding another $200 million this time in bond fund,” said Rep. Luke.