Balancing our Budget & Creating Jobs
In this critical time of economic downturn, workforce sustainability and support for our local industries and businesses are crucial to Hawaii's economic recovery and revitalization. Faced with unprecedented economic challenges, the legislature has had to deal with a $2.3 billion deficit over the past two years while continuing to meet its constitutional obligation to produce a balanced budget.
Without having to pass broad based tax increases or taking away the Transient Accommodations Tax from the counties, Sen. Tokuda and her fellow legislators were able to create balanced budgets that provided needed funding for essential government services ranging from education to environmental protection, while also maintaining the social safety net for the poor, the disadvantaged, our children and the elderly.
Focused on workforce development and job creation that would have short and long term benefits to our state, Jill worked closely with the University of Hawaii system to negotiate and pass critical pieces of legislation aimed at meeting the rapidly changing needs of both employers and employees.
Recognizing the importance of infusing money into our economy and putting people back to work, Sen. Tokuda was an advocate for increased funding for University of Hawaii Capital Improvement Project (CIP) and Repair and Maintenance (R&M) projects. In 2010, $176 million in CIP and R&M funds were included in the budget.
Coupled with legislation passed under her leadership as the Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, the University now stands ready to put shovels in the ground for over $250 million in projects statewide. This will not only result in jobs for thousands in our construction trades, but will provide our students with a conducive and safe environment in which to learn and increase funds coming into our University through indirect costs.