In his first package of bills for the 2023 Legislature, Governor Green submitted six bills:
- GOV-01 (SB 1347/HB 1049): Relating to Income Tax (Green Affordability Plan), which proposed significant tax changes to provide more than $300 million in tax relief for working families.
- GOV-02 (SB 1348/HB 1050): Relating to General Excise Tax Exemptions, which proposed exempting groceries and certain health products from Hawai‘i’s General Excise Tax.
- GOV-03 (SB 1349/HB 1051): Relating to Natural Resources Management (Green Fee).
- GOV-04 (SB 1350/HB 1052): Relating to Climate Change.
- GOV-05 (SB 1351/HB 1053): Relating to Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, which proposed the creation of a new Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health program in the Department of Health.
- GOV-06 (SB 1352/HB 1054): Relating to Housing, which encouraged the development of affordable housing, support workforce housing renters, and temporarily streamline processes.
While none of Governor Green’s bills survived the legislative process, measures supporting similar objectives were adopted. More notably, more than $1 billion was approved related to Commit to Keiki’s priorities:
- While Governor Green’s Affordability Plan wasn’t adopted, several tax credit increases, estimated at more than $120 million, were adopted and reduce the economic burden on families. In HB 954, the Earned Income Tax Credit is doubled, Food and Excise Tax Credit is doubled, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is increased from $2,400 per taxpayer to $10,000.
- Housing is the largest portion of a family’s budget. Governor Green’s efforts to address homelessness and provide more affordable housing will reduce the economic stress on families and prevent homelessness. Almost $700 million is being appropriated to address homelessness and expand affordable housing.
- The 2023 Legislature committed more than $235 million to make progress on the state’s goal to enable all 3- and 4-year-olds in Hawai‘i to access preschool by 2032. Hawai‘i presently has enough preschool spaces for about 50% of our 3- and 4-year-olds. Expanding the Preschool Open Doors subsidy program, creating Charter School preschool classrooms, and operating more DOE/EOEL preschool classrooms will make more preschool classrooms available.
- The new teacher housing program and early childhood educator stipend program will help to recruit and retain teachers.
- The Child Care Accreditation program (SB 239) will help additional child care providers obtain accreditation and ensure that quality child care is available for families.
- In order to ensure that our youngest children can access necessary health care services, the Legislature appropriated $146.23 million to increase Medicaid reimbursements to match Medicare levels to ensure that doctors would treat Medicaid patients. In addition, the Legislature appropriated additional funds to support the Child Wellness Incentive Pilot Program (Act 127, SLH 2022) which pays $50 to each Medicaid recipient for completion of well-child examinations and provided funding for the Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals.
- To help reduce child abuse and neglect in families, additional funding was provided for Family Resource Centers, foster boarding, and Child Protective Services contracts, and the Governor’s Office of Wellness and Resilience which is supporting Trauma Informed Care.
Commit to Keiki looks forward to working with the Governor on implementing the changes adopted by the 2023 Legislature to ensure that Hawai‘i’s youngest keiki have a brighter start.