February 7, 2009

Legislators continue to bemoan an unpleasant legislative task

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 11:20 am

Recent stories (Advertiser and S-B) about the Governor asking legislators (via the media, instead of face-to-face) to delay the budget process until March make the Governor sound like an undergrad begging for an extension on her term paper revision, but I don’t think that’s what is really going on. It seems, to me, more like the Lege trying to avoid its responsibilities.

According to the legislative history, Governor Lingle’s executive budget (HB 200) was introduced on her behalf by Speaker Say on January 23rd. The website provides a PDF link that contains Lingle’s budget bill as submitted. So, [other than submitting most of her budget in landscape(!) orientation] what’s the problem, exactly?

Is her draft of the budget based on an outdated set of revenue projections? Hard for me to know for certain, but I’m 99% sure it is. However, that is the case every year, as the budget is submitted in late January and a new COR forecast is released every March.

It’s pretty clear (and understandable, from a cynical perspective) that neither the Governor nor the Lege is very eager to march at the front of the budget cut parade. However, the Governor has fulfilled her obligation to submit a budget for consideration. The House and Senate fiscal committees would like the Governor to submit another draft, showing where she would make even deeper cuts? I’m sure they would, and I’d love for the Governor (or anyone) to give me a spiffy new motorcycle, but none of that is likely to happen.

It’s time for the Lege to take its bite of the (bitter) apple. In years of increasing revenue forecasts you don’t hear legislators grumbling for revised input from the Governor about how to amend the budget. Well, that same policy should work just fine in the down years, too…

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