2016 legislative update by VP Kalbert Young
From UH News, April 20, 2016
Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his analysis of the 2016 legislative session to date
The Hawaiʻi State Legislature is now entering its final weeks for 2016. The supplemental budget is the biggest point of discussion for this week as both the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee meet in joint conference committee to deliberate their disagreements with each other’s draft of the budget and to eventually settle on funding and appropriation decisions for every state department and agency.
The University of Hawaiʻi is keenly watching the deliberations. Prior to the beginning of the legislative session, the university submitted a very lean request for additional general fund support—10 items for approximately, $16.2 million. No department should expect to get everything that they have asked for from the legislature.
As the conference committee on the budget begins, let’s see how UH has fared this session.
As you can see, much of the university’s modest request is not accommodated in either the House or Senate version of the budget. It is also clear that the Senate is more supportive of the university’s overall request than the House. The same is also true for funding support of capital projects.
The major capital concern at UH has been addressing the tremendous amount of deferred maintenance that exists throughout every campus in the UH System. The university had asked for general fund (via general obligation bonds) support for $184.9 million in capital projects. The capital budget that will also be discussed in conference committee similarly mirrors the support in the operating portion of the budget.
Deliberations in conference committee can still leave many changes ahead. Nothing is guaranteed from any of the budget versions. It does appear that there are many ideas and areas for increased support from the legislature. We will have to await the conclusion of the conference committee to more fully judge just how much support ends up materializing for the university. The amount of proposed funding to UH is generally better than in recent years past so, that is encouraging. The Hawaiʻi State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 5, 2016.