State capitol building

Kalbert Young

Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his analysis of the 2017 legislative session.

The 2017 legislative session adjourned on May 4, passing hundreds of bills on to the governor for final consideration, many of which impacted the University of Hawaiʻi either directly or indirectly.

The signature initiative for the University of Hawaiʻi in 2017 was to secure funding for Hawaiʻi’s Promise Program—a “last dollar” scholarship program to provide for the unmet needs of qualified University of Hawaiʻi Community College resident students. Working with the governor and the legislature, the program was appropriated $1,829,000 for each year of the fiscal biennium 2018 and 2019. With the governor’s approval of the statewide budget, the university will undertake the process to establish rules and guidelines as to how the program will distribute and qualify applicants.

The university had other funding requests for operations, programs and initiatives at the 2017 legislature. At the end of the legislative session, many of these were not funded, but there were some areas that did receive funding support and, others that were funded which the university did not initiate or originally request. The legislature was challenged to meet statewide funding requests of departments because there were many competing factors impacting the state’s budget. These included funding for collective bargaining cost items for all 14 bargaining units, general excise tax allocations to fund Oʻahu’s rail project and many other high profile issues.

The biennium budget bill (HB 100), along with the many other bills that passed the legislature, now moves to the governor for his consideration. The table below compares the UH items in the operating budget, as requested by the Board of Regents with those that were ultimately included in the final conference draft of the budget bill that is awaiting the governor’s approval.

Campus Description UH Request Conference Draft
UH Mānoa UH Cancer Center support 4 positions and $5,000,000 None
UH System Title IX Total request was $1,850,000 None
UH Mānoa Title IX   $250,000
UH Hilo Title IX   2 positions and $150,000
UH West Oʻahu Title IX   1 position and $70,000
UH Community Colleges Title IX   4 positions and $820,000
UH Community Colleges Hawaiʻi Promise Program $2,500,000 $1,829,000
UH System Positions for capital improvement projects $400,000 $400,000
UH Mānoa Concussion awareness None $350,000
UH Mānoa Heʻeia Reserve None 2.64 positions and $240,800
UH System Legal support None 2 positions and $375,000
UH System Transfer in Office of Aerospace from DBEDT None 1 position and $87,996
UH System Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative 12 positions and $9,850,000 None
UH System Hawaiʻi Research and Innovation Initiative 5 positions and $3,500,000 None
UH System Graduate student salary support $2,850,000 None
UH System High Performance Mission Driven System 7 positions and $2,800,000 None

In general, I believe the university fared pretty well in legislative attention in the budget. Granted, much of the UH’s original request was not funded, but the areas that were funded give the university some support to continue its movement of improvements.

Also included in the budget was funding for the University of Hawaiʻi System to address capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance, which is a major concern of UH. The state budget appropriated a total of $159.8 million in general obligation bonds for the following projects:

Campus Project Amount
UH Mānoa Lyon Arboretum, repair and repave parking lot $600,000
UH Hilo Hale Alahonua, air conditioning improvements $3,000,000
UH West Oʻahu Renovation of the maintenance building $2,500,000
UH West Oʻahu Repair and renovation of the library $50,000
Honolulu CC Reroof automotive technology and diesel mechanics facility $450,000
Hawaiʻi CC Trades and Apprenticeship Program and physics lab, various improvements $700,000
Kapiʻolani CC Culinary Institute of the Pacific phase II $20,000,000
Kapiʻolani CC Campus Center improvements, including exhaust fan duct and cafeteria kitchen replacement $520,000
Kauaʻi CC Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center improvements $1,660,000
Leeward CC Improvements for 7886 BE and theater buildings reroofing phase IIB $250,000
Windward CC Hale Pālanakila and Hale ʻImiloa, various improvements $200,000
UH Maui College Improvements for Hoʻokipa and Laulima AC/HVAC systems $300,000
UH Maui College Improvements for Kaʻaʻike and Paʻina HVAC controls and distribution systems $1,100,000
UH Maui College Library improvements and removal of hazardous materials $440,000
UH Community Colleges Minor CIP $10,000,000
UH Community Colleges Capital renewal and deferred maintenance $10,000,000
UH Community Colleges Product development center $9,000,000
UH System Renew, improve and modernize $83,250,000
UH System CTAHR, site and infrastructure improvements at research stations statewide $6,000,000
UH System Proof of concept planning and design $250,000
UH System

Snyder Hall replacement

$5,000,000
UH System

Relocation of communications and the Academy of Creative Media into a shared facility on the Mānoa campus $3,000,000
UH System Hyperbaric Treatment Center at Kuakini Hospital $1,500,000
  Total $159,770,000

UH is extremely thankful and appreciative to the legislature for the support they provided for these capital needs across the UH System. A lot of work still needs to be done and additional funding will still need to be appropriated in order to reduce UH’s deferred maintenance backlog. But, like the operating budget appropriations, the level of capital funding is enough that UH could make some level of progress on modernizing some of its campuses’ facilities.

The governor has until July 11, 2017 to either sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature.

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