REPORT FROM THE SENATE MAJORITY – HONOLULU, HAWAII – The Hawaii State Senate Majority Caucus today unveiled its priorities for the 2012 Legislative Session. The Senate Majority, whose members are Democrats, are committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii.
As the Senate moves forward in the second year of the Twenty-Sixth Legislative biennium, the overarching themes and priorities set forth align with Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawaii.” The Senate Majority has identified the following priorities:
Job Creation & Creating a Sustainable Economy
Creating jobs and putting people back to work will be critically important. The Senate Majority has created an aggressive FY13 G.O. Bond-funded $500 million Capital Improvement Program (CIP) package aimed at investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state, from Hilo to Hanalei. The program will create shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants. It’ll put money in workers’ pockets and give companies confidence to begin hiring again.
“The purpose of this package is simple. It will put more people back to work and stimulate the economy. The investment we make today will provide a better future for the people of Hawaii,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.
Projects to be considered should focus on smaller repair and maintenance projects to address aging infrastructures and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities. Projects should also include those that address health and safety code concerns. These are not new identified projects, rather it’s a plan to eliminate projects that have been backlogged. Funding will be provided throughout State departments. The permitting, approval and procurement process in both the private and public sectors to facilitate expedient movement would be streamlined and/or simplified to ensure that government is able to provide services to the public in the most efficient manner.
“While economic recovery is slow, this package will put people to work more quickly,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “The package will also take care of projects that have been on the backlog list for years and it’s time we start working on them.”
“In addition, by streamlining the process, we may be able to restore and create jobs within that very process,” Galuteria added.
With this aggressive approach at stimulating our economy, the Senate Majority purposefully supports Hawaii’s small businesses, where most new jobs begin. The Senate Majority is committed to supporting the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of Hawaii’s people. Investing in citizens will amount to contributions to our State that far outweigh the investment. With this jolt in the economy, the safety net would be improved, a wide range of social and educational services would be provided and as result, the following initiatives would be supported:
· Sustainability and Renewable Energy
When it comes to sustainability and renewable energy, the Senate Majority will continue to strive to make Hawaii a model for the rest of the country by continuing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. The Senate Majority will make it a priority to develop sustainable and renewable energy strategies and initiatives throughout our state facilities. The Senate will strive to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption at state facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and state office buildings.
· Retooling Government
In the area of technology, the Senate Majority Caucus package calls for investing in the State’s information technology infrastructure in order to improve government and to better serve the public. The investment in IT upgrades aims to increase productivity, making government more efficient.
· People and Children
As a result of strengthening the economy and putting more people back to work, the safety net would be secured and all basic needs of all citizens would be met. The Senate will also continue its strong support for education. From Hawaii’s youngest keiki to wisest kupuna, ensuring access to the highest quality educational opportunities will remain a top priority, which will make them competitive in the global economy.