In his inaugural State of the State address on Monday, January 23, Governor Green announced his priorities: housing, homelessness, the cost of living, environment, and mental health. His priorities included establishing the Governor’s Office of Wellness & Resilience to focus on trauma informed care, adding critical mental health resources for our schools and communities, and supporting our state’s priority to make pre-kindergarten universally available. During his address, he signed an emergency proclamation on homelessness and explained how his Kauhale program will create villages that are more cost effective than serving mental health needs in the Hawaii State Hospital.
While the Executive Budget was substantively developed by the prior administration, Governor Green’s February 13, 2023 Governor’s Message regarding the Executive Budget articulated his Administration’s priorities: affordable housing and infrastructure, reducing homelessness, protecting natural resources and climate, improving access to healthcare including mental health services, government efficiency, and reducing the cost of living. This Governor’s Message included his requests for several proposed budget adjustments aligned with Commit to Keiki’s priorities:
- To support the State’s priority to make pre-kindergarten universally available to Hawai‘i’s keiki, he requested $38.8 million in general funds in both fiscal years for the expansion of the Preschool Open Doors Program.
- Add $15 million in general funds in FY 24 and $10 million in general funds in FY 25 to support applied behavior analysis services for students with significant behavioral or social-communication deficits across schools statewide.
- Add $1.7 million in general funds in both fiscal years for the physical and mental health direct service referral management system of care to ensure all students across the State receive on-demand and scheduled care, treatment planning, care management and crisis consultation.
- Add $6 million in general funds in FY 24 and $6.3 million in general funds in FY 25 to provide additional funding to the Department of Health for mental health services throughout the State.
- Add $25 million in general funds in FY 24 and $20 million in general funds in FY 25 to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates up to 100% of Medicare (in conjunction with our previous request for $5 million in FY 24 and $10 million in FY 25 that was included in the FB 2023-25 Executive Budget). These State funds will bring in an additional $42 million in federal funds in both fiscal years and ensure access to high quality healthcare for our Medicaid population.