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Whatʻs in the Appropriations Committeeʻs $29.8 billion financial services and general government bill for Hawaiʻi?

US Rep. Ed Case

The US House Committee on Appropriations recently approved $29.8 billion for the FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which includes funding for financial programs to help small businesses and middle class families struggling with the high costs of inflation.

This is a $4.3 billion increase from FY2022 funding.

To help small businesses nationwide, the bill provides $1.1 billion for the Small Business Administration, an increase of $77 million from the previous year. This includes $326 million, a $36 million increase, for Entrepreneurial Development Programs that provide small businesses with quality training, counseling and access to resources. 

The State of Hawaiʻi has more than 137,000 small businesses, making up more than 99 percent of all businesses in the islands, according to the SBA.

“But we have seen what the pandemic has done to these companies, and what they are having to deal with now as they struggle with the rising costs of inflation,” said US Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) and a member of the Appropriations Committee. “That is why I worked on this measure and elsewhere to ensure that small businesses remain the backbone of our economy including  financial, technical and emergency assistance, boosting trade opportunities, and ensuring that women-owned and Native Hawaiian owned businesses get the help they need.” 

Rep. Case said the Appropriations Committee also approved several of his requests for funding for federal programs and services important for the State of Hawai’i, including: 

  • $22.5 million for the Native American Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program
  • $5 million for the Native American Outreach Program
  • $5 million for the Historically Underutilized Business Zones Program
  • $30 million for the Women’s Business Centers Program
  • $24 million for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative
  • $145 million for Small Business Development Centers
  • $110 million for the Drug-Free Communities Program
  • $22 million for the State Trade Expansion Program
  • $10 million for the Regional Innovation Clusters Program
  • $300 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
  • $41 million for the Microloan Technical Assistance Program

The bill also provided $336 million for Community Development Financial  Institutions (CDFIs), an increase of $41 million above the FY 2022 levels. CDFIs are specialized community-based financial institutions that promote economic development by providing financial products and  services to people and communities underserved by traditional financial  institutions, particularly in low-income and minority communities.

They were  especially valuable in delivering COVID-19 emergency assistance funds to communities without ready access to other means, the news release said.

One of the provisions in the measure would help to rebuild the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on tax avoiders and to provide better customer service to working families struggling to navigate the tax system. 

This measure funds the US Treasury, federal courts and various independent agencies including the SBA, Federal Communications Commission and Office of Personnel Management.

Rep. Case said the bill also adopts his requests to:

  • Include language supporting improved USPS service in remote  areas
  • Direct the Federal Trade Commission to produce recommendations to address the exploitation and inauthentic use of native language and culture in marketing under the Fair Package and Labeling Act
  • Include language directing the IRS to submit a report to Congress on the reasons for the backlog of tax returns and recommendations for preventing future backlogs
  • Direct the National Personnel Records Center to provide quarterly reports on its plan to spend emergency money to reduce its request backlog

The Appropriations Committee is responsible for allocating about $1.6  trillion in funding to federal government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis through 12 bills. The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill now is in the full House of Representatives for consideration. 

A summary of the bill is available here.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/06/28/what%ca%bbs-in-the-appropriations-committee-29-8-billion-financial-services-and-general-government-bill-for-hawai%ca%bbi/

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