Gov. David Ige today announced his intent to veto 28 bills passed during the most recent session of the Hawaii State Legislature.
“Several key considerations went into my decision making,” Ige said. “First the state’s economic situation has significantly brightened since the start of the legislature, and more importantly, since the conclusion of its work.”
Ige explained that recently released federal guidance from the United States Treasury and other agencies helped to determine what funding can and can’t be used for.
“Rescue funds can’t be used for debt service,” Ige said. His move to veto some bills was necessary to comply with the Treasury’s guidance.
The guidance was issued on May 1, one day after the legislature completed its most recent session, Ige added.
Among the bills Ige plans to veto are HB 54, which would include federal stimulus funds to replenish the state’s rainy day fund, which he said would violate federal guidelines, and HB 613, which would have used federal money to pay bonuses to teachers.
“This puts the state at risk of being in violation of federal rules, which could require the return of funds received,” Ige said.
Ige also plans line item vetoes in HB 200, which plans to use federal funds for general obligation bond debt service as well as programs that provide matching funds for federal dollars.
He will also veto HB 62, which would make significant changes to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and affect the distribution of the state’s Tourism Accommodations Tax.
“We do need to find a way to mitigate the impact of visitors on our islands,” said Ige. “(But) this bill will make it impossible for HTA to strike a balance.”
If Ige does veto the measure, counties would continue to recieve their portions of the $103 million that is distributed.
To address the holes left in the budget, Ige can call the state legislature into a a special session, or propose an ammended bill for lawmakers to consdier when they meet on July 6 to consider vetos. On that day, if lawmakers are able to pass the governor’s ammended bill, a special session would not be required.
However, Ige said he is currently considering both options.
Ige has until July 6 to make his final decisions on which bills he will veto.
Watch the press conference via the video above, or go to Gov. Ige’s Facebook page.