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House passes state FY2025 budget, prioritizes Maui wildfire related expenses : Maui Now


House chambers. FILE PC: Hawaiʻi House of Representatives – Majority

The state House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 operating and capital improvement budget, amid a fiscally challenging year that prioritizes addressing wildfire-related expenses after the Aug. 8 tragedy in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui.

Upon passing its third reading on the House Floor, House Bill 1800 HD1 – Relating to the State Budget will crossover to the Senate.

House Finance Chair Kyle T. Yamashita (D-12, Upcountry Maui) said the committee’s methodical approach in crafting the state budget encompasses fiscal prudence, accountability and transparency.


“Ensuring the safety and the recovery of our communities will come at an extraordinary cost to the state budget. At the same time, preserving, maintaining, and enhancing fundamental services for Hawaiʻi’s residents remains our priority,” said Rep. Yamashita. “This encompasses mental health services, healthcare for the disabled and kūpuna, biosecurity to protect our ʻāina and natural resources, business and workforce development, childcare and education, affordable housing and public welfare.”

Rep. Kyle Yamashita (3.6.24) PC: Hawai’i House of Representatives – Majority / Facebook

According to the House Committee on Finance, all known potential costs for programs associated with assisting survivors of the Aug. 8 tragedy have been appropriated in the House draft of the state budget to remove the necessity to transfer money appropriated by the Legislature for specific purposes. Yamashita noted that more than $1.0 billion, or 10% of the general fund budget may be needed to respond to recovery costs.

House Finance Vice Chair Lisa Kitagawa emphasized that while the federal government assists states in mitigating recovery costs, reimbursements are not immediate. “It may take several years for the state to receive its funds. Communication, coordination and cooperation between all branches of government will be needed in the coming days, months, and years to develop and implement solutions for survivors,” said Vice Chair Lisa Kitagawa (D-48, Kāne‘ohe, ‘Āhuimanu, Kahalu‘u, Waiāhole, Ka‘a‘awa).


“The current fiscal situation presents the Legislature with unique challenges and difficult choices amid the budgetary uncertainties surrounding the Lahaina disaster,” said Capital Improvement Projects Chair Scott Y. Nishimoto (D-23 Mō‘ili‘ili, McCully). “The House was forced to make some very difficult decisions in regard to CIP, but was ultimately able to fund critically needed improvements, repairs and maintenance projects throughout the State, as well as provide full funding for all of the Governor’s capital improvement project requests associated with the Maui Wildfires disaster.”

Although the House draft of the state budget focuses heavily on addressing expenses related to the Maui wildfires, Rep. Yamashita reiterated that core services throughout the state must be maintained.

“Numerous individuals in our community continue to grapple with the enduring impacts of the pandemic, homelessness, and the challenges of the cost of living. It is critical to establish a robust safety net to foster resilient communities and build a stronger economy,” said Rep. Yamashita.

Source: Maui News

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