May 10, 2009

Motion? What motion? Denied.

Filed under: Hawaii Media,Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 11:22 am

Hmmm. The Hawaii Supreme Court has not (so far as I know) responded to the Lingle administration’s motion to reconsider the Superferry ruling. More than ten days have elapsed since her motion and the Senate’s amicus brief were submitted nearly a month ago.

According to the procedure Charley Foster helpfully wrote about earlier, the decision invalidating Act 2 still holds. “Neener, neener, neener,” says the Court. Okay, the justices say that through only by inference through their inaction, but still… :)

Nothing overt “happened,” but this is clearly news. Did I overlook a mention of this development by the media? I don’t think so, but lemme know if I did.

May 8, 2009

Budget in limbo serves as a de facto furlough

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 7:45 pm

From a KGMB story:

[T]he governor could veto the entire budget. She has asked for guidance from her advisors about that option.

“If she vetoes the budget,” said Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, “come July 1st, when the new budget is supposed to take effect, then they wouldn’t have a budget, and I’m not sure how she’s going to operate because they can’t spend any money.”

If the override doesn’t work [note: the overrides worked], the governor’s vetoes would stand and she would have to make up the money gaps. She’s suggested furloughing public workers to cut costs or having state employees pay more for health care. The governor’s staff says, she is still working with the labor unions to reach an agreement.

The Governor has a few weeks between the beginning of a new fiscal year (July 1) and the deadline to veto legislation (July 15). If Lingle vetoes the budget at the last minute (she’d have to notify the Lege 10 days beforehand, but legislators could not vote to override until she actually returns the bill), or even if Lingle allows the budget to become law without her signature on July 15, there would be a period of time with no spending bill in effect. My best guess, then, is that would mean that the “non-essential” functions of state government would be shut down, those workers would not report to work, and those workers would not be paid. i.e. That looks like 10 or 11 days of furlough. How much money would that equal? I dunno.

May 4, 2009

More on the budget veto meme

Filed under: Hawaii Media,Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 7:55 pm

Hmmm. It is getting more weird. Since last week, when Borreca had a seemingly throw-away comment in a Q & A with Speaker Say, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and some checking. To that end, I decided to compare the transfer language in past budgets to the transfer language that is in the current budget about to be passed. The transfer language in the latest draft of the budget seems fairly typical in that regard, so I don’t see any reason for a veto of the new budget over the transfer of funds. Next, I reviewed the testimony submitted on the budget this year. [META: Given the importance of the document, it's amazingly sparse on testimony. Odd.] None of the testifiers raised any concern about transferring funds.

Meanwhile, a reliable source in the Capitol suggested that this bill, and not the budget bill, is the one facing a potential veto. I doubt it. Going into conference committee SB 387 would have required the Lege to approve any transfers of funds from one budget item to another. Indeed, there was testimony from the administration saying that it was unconstitutional and unworkable for those transfers to require legislative approval—which is not-so-subtle code for “we will veto this bill.” However, at this point the conference draft only requires the Governor to submit quarterly reports detailing any such transfers. That’s not unconstitutional, and it’s not very onerous, so I highly doubt she’d veto it in this form.

On the off chance that he’d respond to a blogger, I have sent an email to Russel Pang of the Governor’s press office, asking if he would like to explain or clarify what is going on. No response yet, but it’s only been a few hours…

Then, while eating my dinner I was reading Larry Price’s latest Midweek column:

First, can you remember when a governor has vetoed the entire state budget? I can’t, but it still remains a possibility. If that happens, the state of Hawaii would be literally shut down on July 1. The ramifications would be immense. Emotions would be pushed to the breaking point.

Price does not provide, nor does he even attempt to offer, an explanation of what is behind this veto “possibility.” Of course, every bill passed by the Lege faces the “possibility” of a veto, but Price clearly thinks the budget is in a uniquely risky position. Finally, after a few paragraphs of thoroughly cryptic rambling about “unholy coalitions” and “dirty tricks,” Price adds,

Hopefully, the governor won’t be forced [sic!] to veto the entire budget, although it appears clear that there are forces in the legislature pushing for that outcome.

Wha?! Which “forces” in the Lege favor a veto of the budget? Why be coy, Mr. Price? Sheesh. If you know who, then name names!

I think there is something queer about the way in which this whole meme has been propogated. Why the media are not pursuing the administration for comment is baffling and frustrating. For now, the Lingle regime appears to have been given a pass. I guess a budget being vetoed is not considered newsworthy. ??

May 1, 2009

Hypothesis: Veto threat is another collective bargaining strategy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Doug @ 4:28 am

After a night of rest and a workout to brood on my previous post, I have a simple hypothesis that might explain why the Governor told Speaker Say that she may veto the budget bill:

So long as the budget bill is not law, Governor Lingle has more leverage during the ongoing collective bargaining talks with the public workers.

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