Report Title:

Public Financial Education and Asset Building Task Force; Appropriation



Establishes a public financial education and asset building task force; makes an appropriation.



H.B. NO.


















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that for many Hawaii residents, the cost of purchasing a home, pursuing post-secondary education, and starting a business are becoming prohibitively expensive.  Traditional public assistance programs where household income thresholds determine eligibility are not necessarily successful in supporting lower income families making the transition to increased economic self‑sufficiency.  Many of these traditional programs focus on obtaining and maintaining jobs, but penalize participants for accumulating what few assets they are able to afford.  When income‑based policies are coupled with asset‑based policies, they provide a comprehensive means for lower income families to achieve greater financial independence and well‑being. 

     The purpose of this Act is to establish the public financial education and asset building task force to develop policy recommendations related to achieving financial goals for Hawaii families.  The Act also makes an appropriation for task force operation.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  The chair of the senate committee on human services and public housing shall convene a statewide task force on public financial education and asset building.  The purpose of the task force shall be to develop policy recommendations regarding:

     (1)  Universal, matched savings accounts for newborns;

     (2)  Statewide standards for financial and economic education for public and private sector employees; and

     (3)  The elimination of asset limits as a bar to eligibility for public benefit programs.

     (b)  For the purpose of establishing universal, matched savings accounts for newborns, the task force shall consider the following factors:

     (1)  The savings vehicle, including the rate of return, safety of the investment, account insurance, ease of managing the account, and the ease of making various forms of deposits;

     (2)  State contributions, including the state contribution to the initial deposit, the amount, time frame and eligibility requirements to receive state matching funds, mechanisms to distribute state contributions, and estimated costs and benefits;

     (3)  Ownership of the account, including the impact on eligibility for student financial aid, public assistance and other public benefits, and taxation of account earnings and distributions;

     (4)  Financial education, including the provision of financial education to child and family, and access to additional financial services;

     (5)  Restrictions, including withdrawal or distribution from the account prior to the child's reaching age eighteen, the portability of the account, and limits on permissible uses of the account;

     (6)  Revenue sources, including sources for the initial deposit and any savings match, the feasibility of a state match for deposits for children in low-income families;

     (7)  Mechanisms for data collection and tracking; and

     (8)  All other factors that the task force deems important to program design.

     (c)  For the purposes of creating financial and education standards for public and private sector employees, the task force shall consider:

     (1)  Curriculum content and delivery mechanisms;

     (2)  Appropriate agency designation for financial education standards coordination and training;

     (3)  Strategies for public/private partnerships to offer financial and economic education to employees; and

     (4)  All other factors that the task force deems important in program design.

     (d)  In addition to the convenor specified in subsection (a), task force membership shall consist of directors of the following departments, or the directors' designees:

     (1)  The department of budget and finance;

     (2)  The department of commerce and consumer affairs;

     (3)  The department of business, economic development, and tourism;

     (4)  The department of human services;

     (5)  The department of taxation;

     (6)  The department of labor and industrial relations; and

     (7)  The department of human resources development;

     (e)  In addition to the members described in subsections (a) and (d), additional task force membership shall consist of one designee from each of the following offices:

     (1)  The speaker of the house of representatives;

     (2)  The president of the senate; and

     (3)  The president of the University of Hawaii.

     (f)   In addition to the members described in subsections (a), (d), and (e), the task force shall also include one representative selected by the convenor identified in subsection (a) from each of the following categories:

     (1)  Asset-building in Hawaii;

     (2)  The individual development account program under chapter 257, Hawaii Revised Statutes;

     (3)  Grassroots organizing;

     (4)  Poverty law;

     (5)  The business industry;

     (6)  Child advocacy;

     (7)  Rural community advocacy;

     (8)  Organized labor;

     (9)  The banking industry;

    (10)  Credit unions; and

    (11)  Investment service providers.

     (g)  The task force may consult with national organizations with relevant experience where appropriate.

     (h)  The task force shall submit a report containing its findings and recommendations to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2010.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008-2009 for the operations of the task force, including the hiring of a public financial education coordinator who shall be responsible for implementing task force standards.

     The sum appropriated shall be expended by the senate for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 3 shall take effect on July 1, 2008.