Governor Neil Abercrombie this morning delivered his second State of the State address before the state Legislature laying out investment goals that build upon the economic progress made during the last year.
"There was no way for us to have balanced our budget and achieved today's fiscally favorable outlook without the commitment of everyone," said Governor Abercrombie, who spent time thanking state employees and recognizing the Legislature for their support.
The Governor proposed a number of initiatives that he will be moving forward this session to strengthen the economic recovery began in 2011. These proposals include:
* Working with the Legislature to identify and approve Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), which will result in construction jobs and address critical infrastructure needs.
* Investing $5 million towards the preservation and protection of the state's watersheds.
* Making the TV and Film Tax Credit permanent.
* Investing $1 million towards early childhood education and health initiatives.
* Investing $1.4 million to establish Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers to assist kupuna who face the challenges of aging and restricted mobility.
* An emergency appropriation for a grant of $1.8 million to support the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai'i in light of the closure of two Hawai'i Medical Center hospitals.
* Improvements to the criminal justice system as proposed by the Justice Reinvestment Initiative.
* Support for an undersea cable that can connect our island grids to provide stable, reliable electricity between islands.
"I know for many it is hard to see beyond today's needs when today's needs loom so large and immediate," stated Governor Abercrombie. "But unless dealt with now, today's challenges can only multiply in difficulty. This is not acceptable.
"We have an obligation to make a better future for our children. We live in paradise and taking care of each other is a value that is fundamental to the aloha spirit."
The Governor will be submitting measures that were mentioned in his speech as well as other proposals such as a bill to make appropriations for fiscal years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 to recapitalize the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund and the Hawai'i Hurricane Relief Fund. The Governor's office will also be introducing a resolution to study the efficacy of combining state government health policy, planning and purchasing into a single agency in order to advance transformation of Hawai'i's Healthcare System and universal access.
Overall, the Governor is introducing about 15 pieces of legislation this legislative session. The various state departments will be introducing about 170 measures.