Armed with a big budget surplus, Green lays out spending priorities for his first year
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Gov. Josh Green begins his term in office, he’s overseeing a state budget in strong financial shape.
At a news conference Monday, Green laid out his plans for Hawaii’s budget with the state on track to end the fiscal year with a near $2 billion surplus.
He says much of that is due to the state’s Safe Travels program during the height of the pandemic, which allowed travelers to return, and a significant amount of federal aid.
One of the administration’s priorities is combatting Hawaii’s high cost of living with cuts on the general excise tax for food and medicine or tax incentives.
That would need to be approved at the legislative level, but he’s hoping to sign off on relief quickly.
“It’s important that people have an expectation of what their reality is going to be,” Green said.
“They can sometimes wait, but they need to know what will happen at the end of the year and it’s going to take time to build housing, which is going to be very important. It’s going to take a little time to get tax breaks for people, but we are going to immediately put in some programs for people who are really in tough shape.”
Green also announced $50 million in grants and aid for non-profit organizations statewide.
“My directors are going to give their best recommendations to augment what they do because we’re gonna care about people,” Green said. “The one instruction that I gave my cabinet was be compassionate and provide caring support for people. That will take on a lot of shapes, but it’s going to cost some money.”
The legislature begins the 2023 session on Jan. 18.
Affordable housing has been a significant aspect of the governor’s platform and he plans on unveiling a comprehensive strategy at next month’s State of The State address.
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