May 24, 2023
2023 Legislature Commits more than $1 Billion in Additional Funds to Commit to Keiki Priorities
The 2023 Legislature committed more than $1.2 billion in additional funds in three (3) areas related to Commit to Keiki’s priorities:
|Removing economic stressors for families
Increasing tax credits to help working families, reducing homelessness, and increasing affordable housing.
|Providing sufficient, culturally appropriate, quality child care and early learning services
Expanding Preschool Open Doors subsidy program, creating charter school preschool classrooms, providing staff to operate more pre-k classrooms, kindergarten entry assessments, and building teacher housing.
|Ensuring our youngest children can live a trauma-free life
Enabling access to health care: Increasing Medicaid reimbursements, Child Wellness Incentive Pilot Program, and Hawaii State Loan Repayment Program for Healthcare Professionals.
Addressing child abuse and neglect: Funding Child Protective Service contracts, foster board payments, sex trafficking victim support and the Family Resource Center Network.
Living in Hawai‘i is expensive, especially for families. Commit to Keiki supported Governor Green’s “Affordability Package” to reduce the economic stressors for families. While Governor Green’s bill did not pass, several tax credit increases, estimated at more than $120 million, were adopted and reduce the economic burden on families – HB 954: 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 and enhance child care. 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 operated 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, Commit to Keiki supported efforts to increase Medicaid reimbursements to match Medicare levels to ensure that doctors would treat Medicaid patients. $146.23 million was appropriated to increase Medicaid rates. 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 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.
Thanks to the 2023 Legislature’s investment, Hawai‘i’s 75,000 youngest children and their families will have a brighter start.