Governor requests funds for modernization

Jan 24, 2019

By Transform Hawaii Government

In submitting Gov. David Ige’s budget request for fiscal biennium (FB) 2019-2021 to the Legislature, the official press release may have led with high-priority areas like public education, affordable housing, homelessness and sustainability, but tens of millions of dollars are also being proposed for investments in modernization within nearly every department. 

Specifically noted during the Dec. 17 press conference was progress with Tax System Modernization. It was also mentioned that the administration is “looking at” financial management systems in highways, workers comp and disability, employees retirement system, and the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF).

In preparing the budget request, Gov. Ige and former Finance Director Laurel Johnston had a new resource available to them in the form of the award-winning Hawai‘i Department Dashboard. The online dashboard was launched by the CIO-led to track more than 400 major IT projects statewide, to determine department priorities.

The following are a few highlights of budgetary requests relating to IT and modernization for the next two fiscal years (FY):

  • Department of Taxation – $3,640,000 in FY20 and $4,800,000 in FY21 for professional services for Tax System Modernization.
  • Department of Labor and Industrial Relations – $2,565,469 in FY20 and $1,772,998 in FY21 to continue the Disability Compensation Division modernization project, as well as $225,000 in FY20 and FY21 for the project’s Independent Verification and Validation. 
  • Department of Accounting and General Services – $200,000 in special funds in FY20 for information technology services for the Digital Archives project.
  • State Libraries – $240,000 in FY20 and FY21 to implement radio frequency identification technology for more efficient library services.
  • Department of Human Services – $5,491,700 in FY20 and $4,220,900 in FY21 for the maintenance and operation costs of the Kauhale On-Line Eligibility Assistance (KOLEA) system.

The Office of Enterprise Technology Services has requested:

  • $150,000 in FY20 for a mobile device management software to ensure devices are kept up to date, patched and could be wiped in the event the device is lost or stolen.
  • $1,038,240 in FY20 and $1,263,902 in FY21 for various cybersecurity software subscriptions to accomplish protecting our network from various cybersecurity threats.
  • $3,000,000 in FY20 and $218,000 in FY21 in capital improvement project (CIP) funds for cyber security upgrades to augment current infrastructure to more effectively and efficiently combat cybersecurity threats.
  • $1,800,000 in FY20 in CIP funds to replace end-of-life Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) equipment. New equipment and electrical infrastructure are needed to continue normal operations for the State of Hawai‘i.
  • $365,000 in FY20 for upgrades to the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ GreenNet to enhance, restore and enable radio and interoperable communications within and outside of the department’s existing network.

What remains unclear is whether modernization of the state’s core financial system will be proposed, or whether the administration will consider investments to centralize and standardize management of data.

Some states across the county have even proposed establishing a chief data officer to set policies around sharing data across agencies, making data available to the public, and addressing security of protected data. As of last summer, 34 states had chief data officers. Such proposals can still occur through measures introduced by legislators, or they may be covered under agencies’ base operating budgets.

Time will tell as session gets underway on Jan. 16 as hundreds of bills are introduced, including the budget bill, and work their way through the legislative process.

For more information on the FB 2019-21 Executive Budget, read the governor's news release.