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Hawaii state capitol

Kalbert Young

Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance and chief financial officer, shares his update of the 2018 legislative session to date

The Hawaiʻi State Legislature is entering its final month for the 2018 legislative session, and in the next few weeks both the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Finance will conduct conference committee meetings to decide on the differences between each other’s drafts of the State Budget (HB1900 HD1 SD2). Their ultimate decisions will either provide funding for programs, departments, and agencies across the state, including the University of Hawaiʻi System—or not.

All state departments and the university will be watching these conference meetings to see how they fare as agreements are made. Be warned, the process typically also includes a fairly high degree of disappointment as well. There simply are not enough funds available to meet all the needs or desires of every state department.

At the start of this process, the University of Hawaiʻi submitted a request that consisted of $16,821,507 in additional general funds for FY2019. This amount was to fund various operating programs and initiatives.

Of the university’s original request of $16.8 million, the governor’s executive branch proposal included $6.7 million.

In March, the House of Representatives completed its draft (HD1) of the State Budget, and provided $1,759,000 of the $6.7 million governor’s proposal. Highlights of the HD1 to UH included $300,000 for student success initiatives at UH Mānoa and $750,000 for student services centers at the UH Community Colleges.

At the beginning of April, the senate passed its version of the budget (SD2), which provided $4,898,331 in additional general funds. Highlights from the SD2 to UH include $700,000 for Hawaiʻi Promise funding, using $3 million in transient accommodations tax revenue to fund athletics, and more than $1 million for student success initiatives. The following table shows a synopsis of how UH has fared so far this session on the operating budget, with conference meetings on the budget about to begin:

Campus Description UH BOR Governor House Senate
CCs Hawaiʻi’s Promise Program $700,000 $700,000   $700,000
CCs Architects / Engineers for Facilities $273,600      
UHWO Health and Safety / Utilities / Equipment $781,000 $300,000   $501,000
Mānoa Facilities $4,038,848 $1,500,000    
CCs Additional Positions for Security $1,083,264      
Hilo DKICP – Janitorial and Groundskeeping $120,495 $120,495    
System Office of Strategic Planning and Development $500,000     $90,000
Mānoa Student Success Initiative – Veterans, Filipinos, Mental Health $575,000 $400,000 $300,000 $400,000
CCs Apprentice Lecturer Costs $260,000 $260,000   $260,000
CCs Filipino Student Support $614,920 $350,000    
CCs Veterans Support $473,108 $473,108    
Mānoa Native Hawaiian Affairs Action Plan $700,000 $500,000   $500,000
CCs Native Hawaiian Student Support $1,729,908 $500,000    
Hilo Native Hawaiian Development $260,000 $200,000 $79,000 $79,000
Hilo Student Workforce $200,000      
Mānoa Student Research and Innovation $535,000 $175,000   $175,000
Mānoa Graduate Student Initiative – Phase I $2,850,000 $621,397   $621,397
UHWO Academic Affairs Restructure and Growth $680,000 $400,000    
UHWO Student Affairs $446,364 $200,000 $130,000  
JABSOM Alternative Medicine     $500,000  
CCs Student Services Centers (1-time training)     $750,000  
Mānoa College of Engineering       $155,000
Mānoa College of Education to collaborate with Hawaiian Language College       $100,000
Mānoa Center for Pacific Island Studies       $568,332
Mānoa CTAHR       $820,000
Hilo Janitor and Groundskeeper       $80,330
Hilo Aviation Program       $600,000
Hilo Rat Lungworm Research at DKICP       $199,000
Hilo Hawaiʻi Ant Lab       $100,000
Hilo Indigenous Teacher Education Program       $100,000
Hilo Reduce Funds for Office of Mauna Kea Management       -$800,000
UHWO Health Sciences Academy       $515,000
CCs Agricultural Program at Hawaiʻi CC       $208,600
CCs Librarian for Leeward CC       $60,500
CCs Student Success Initiative at Hawaiʻi CC       $750,000
CCs Architects and Project and Construction Managers       $364,800
CCs Online Learning       $565,372
CCs Value Added Product Development Center       $0
System Reduction       -$5,000,000
System Online Learning       $685,000
System Repair and Maintenance       $1,500,000
  Total $16,821,507 $6,700,000 $1,759,000 $4,898,331


Most of the university’s operating request was not included in either draft of the state budget, and the senate included a reduction of $5 million to system administration. The senate also funded $3 million to athletics programs from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Special Fund, but that is predicated on the successful passage of a separate bill (HB2010).

On the UH capital improvement projects (CIP) budget, the UH initial request was for $269.7 million for FY2019 to address capital renewal, progress on deferred maintenance and funding for projects to modernize each of the campuses within the UH System. The governor included $120 million of the UH requested amount in his budget request. The house draft of the budget appropriated $92,428,000 while the senate draft provided for $93,507,000 for capital projects.

The following table shows the current CIP breakdown:

Dollar amounts for fiscal year 2019
Campus Project Title UH BOR Governor House Senate
Mānoa Renew, Improve, Modernize (RIM) projects $139,500,000      
Mānoa Sinclair Library Renovation $41,000,000 $20,000,000 $700,000 $700,000
Mānoa Keller Hall Renovations, design phase $1,500,000      
Mānoa Athletics (UOH900)     $11,100,000 $11,100,000
Mānoa Cancer Center Annex – Early Phase Clinical Trials Program (UOH900)       $200,000
Hilo Renew, Improve, Modernize projects $27,900,000      
Hilo Puako Marine Educational Center, design phase $1,000,000   $3,200,000 $23,000
Hilo Hale ʻAlahonua Air Conditioning       $3,000,000
Hilo Phase II and Phase III of Haleʻōlelo Complex for College of Hawaiian Language       $500,000
UHWO Renew, Improve, Modernize projects $3,000,000      
UHWO Relocation of Dental Hygiene Program from UH Mānoa to UH West Oʻahu $10,000,000      
UHWO Campus Center Extension       $5,000,000
CCs Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance $25,000,000 $12,000,000 $6,275,000 $6,500,000
CCs Minor Capital Improvement Projects $10,000,000 $10,000,000 $10,000,000 $10,000,000
CCs Hawaiʻi CC – Campus Development, design phase $2,000,000 $2,000,000    
CCs Leeward CC – Repave Fascia and Replace Walkways Campuswide $8,800,000      
CCs Maui – Expansion of Culinary Arts Program to Lahaina     $400,000 $400,000
CCs Hawaiʻi CC – Pālamanui Outdoor Learning Area and Dining Area Improvements     $1,173,000  
System Mauna Kea Cultural and Educational Visitor’s Center     $3,000,000 $23,000
System Renew, Improve, Modernize (RIM) Projects   $76,000,000 $56,980,000 $56,061,000
  Total $269,700,000 $120,000,000 $92,828,000 $93,507,000


Once the conference committee meetings start, much will need to be discussed between conference committee members. There are a variety of issues facing the legislature this year—not only the budget. All of these issues do have some impact or effect on the budget and the political dynamics. The conference committee process is generally a closed, non-public decision making process, so we all need to patiently wait for the end of session to see how the university fares. The Hawaiʻi State Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 3, 2018.

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