In his FY 2013-2015 Executive Biennium Budget, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie highlighted the daunting challenges that faced his administration during the last biennium, including a $1.3 billion potential budget shortfall that threatened deep programmatic cuts to department operations statewide. The governor utilized a fiscal strategy to only address pressing needs while investing in the state’s future, with goals to improve government efficiency and transparency. For this biennium, Hawaii’s gross domestic product is expected to increase by 2.4 percent in 2013, while unemployment rates continue to decrease.
The new biennium budget (seen above in Figure 1) has several areas of investment, including:
- Early learning and early childhood health
- Education IT and digital curriculums
- Increased resources for Hawaii’s aging population
- Environmental sustainability and protection
The biggest gains by department from FY 2013-2014 include the Department of Human Services ($309 million), Department of Budget and Finance ($251 million), and Department of Transportation ($52 million). The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands saw a budget decrease of $140 million. Investments for FY 2014-2015 include $151 million for the Department of Human Services and $91 million for the Department of Budget and Finance.
Although the numbers in Figure 2 look as if Hawaii has invested millions in information technology, the numbers actually represent more transparency into Hawaii’s IT reporting. Deltek was able to gather more data on the total value of IT projects in the state for the biennium budget. Health IT was a major investment, including $2 million for its health information exchange, $45 million for Medicaid IT initiatives, and $15 million for an electronic medical record system. The Department of Taxation is also investing nearly $32 million into its tax system modernization project for FY 2013-2015.
Despite tough times that followed the economic recession, Hawaii has laid the groundwork for a stable foundation and is continuing to increase both its GDP and IT spending. Vendors working in the education, health, and environmental space should check out Deltek’s analysis on Hawaii’s budget here, and brush up on the Aloha State in our state profile application.