Working together to take action

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Main

From the Governor: Working together to take action

SB3126 CoolSchoolsQ. What do you want people to know about the accomplishments of the last legislative session?

A. What we saw this year was a true team effort to act on long-standing needs and not just “kick the can down the road.” I’m pleased that so many of our initiatives from the State of the State address can now move forward. They include:

  •  Cooling the schools – This was my top priority, and I’m so proud that we put our students first. We’re thankful the Legislature found the right funding source for the $100 million to provide air conditioning, heat abatement and related energy efficiency measures for the schools.
  • Addressing Homelessness – This remains an urgent issue. With the $12 million appropriation, we can implement a coordinated, statewide strategy of housing, support services and public safety with community partners and measurable goals.
  • Providing affordable housing – We’re finding ways to meet the housing needs of the average family, with $75 million allocated toward this effort. We’re working with the private sector to streamline the process and make government tools more effective to build more affordable homes.
  • Decreasing the cost of government – We’re investing in our children’s future by directing nearly a quarter-billion dollars to    restoring the Rainy Day Fund and paying down unfunded liabilities now rather than burdening future generations.
  • Improving health care – The $160 million approved for the Hawai‘i State Hospital will build a facility that’s safer for those who are placed there by the court system, the people who work there, and the surrounding community. We also welcome the approval of operating subsidies for hospitals statewide.

Q. Why do you think you were able to make progress on several major issues?

A. It helped that we were able to see things from the Legislature’s perspective. (Gov. Ige was former chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.) We could anticipate questions from House and Senate leadership to shape the budget. The state directors did a good job of explaining our priorities. I think it was a solid session. We want to show the public that government can work.

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Photo: Gov. Ige with bill signing group

Read more in our June issue.