September 2, 2014
MEMO NO. 14-06
All Department Heads
SUBJECT: FY 15 Budget Execution Policies and Instructions
The attached Budget Execution Policies and Instructions are provided to guide your
implementation of program appropriations for FY 15.
The State experienced healthy levels of general fund tax revenue growth of 15% and
9.9% in FY 12 and FY 13, respectively. It was expected that these high levels of
growth would taper off to more sustainable levels in FY 14 and the forthcoming years
but a number of factors, including declining visitor spending and the impact of federal
fiscal austerity on the spending of Hawaii's residents, caused the Council on
Revenues (COR) to lower its FY 14 general fund tax revenue growth rate forecast
from 0% to -0.4% in its June 2, 2014 report.
Preliminary actual general fund tax revenues for FY 14 were less than the COR's
projection, coming in at 1.8% below FY 13, resulting in $74.4 million less general
fund tax revenues for FY 14 than previously estimated. Two uncommon events in
FY 14 negatively impacted general fund tax revenue growth: 1) the allocation of
$55.5 million to the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund in August of FY 14; and 2) an
unusually large allocation to the County Surcharge on State Tax in July of FY 14
compared to an unusually small allocation in July of FY 13. Even so, the State's
general fund had a healthy balance of nearly $665 million at the end of FY 14 due to
our fiscal restraint.
Despite lower than anticipated revenue collections, Hawaii's major economic drivers
continue to show strength. Unemployment has been at 4.4%, a rate unseen since
August 2008, for four consecutive months. The construction sector is continuing to
strengthen, while Hawaii's visitor and tourism industry is still expected to show growth
of over 2% in visitor days, expenditures and arrivals in 2015 even after nearly two
years of strong growth.