April 30, 2009

What happens if the budget were vetoed?

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 6:29 pm

Part I of II in a Poli-Sci-themed day of posts.

Embedded in this Star-Bulletin story is a very intriguing passage that is offered without further comment:

[Speaker] Say said [Governor] Lingle stopped by his office Tuesday morning to discuss the state budget and let him know she might veto the budget because of her concern with provisions in the bill that would limit her ability to transfer funds between programs.

Before I go on, there’s no way that a veto of the budget would not be overturned or (less likely) amended to a form that the Governor would not veto. So, with that established, her veto threat is best viewed as a political stunt.

Still, what if the budget were vetoed and the Lege did not override or amend the vetoed budget? Would the government shut down on July 1 when the new fiscal year begins? Would there be some sort of continuance of the previous budget? The Constitution doesn’t address the scenario explicitly, so my non-lawyer guess is that means no spending of state money (or, more specifically, no spending except what is authorized by non-vetoed legislation) could occur.

Going back to the Governor’s threat, what exactly is it about the fund transfer provisions in the budget that rises to the level of provoking a potential veto? I did a quick scan of the appearances of the verb “transfer” in the House and Senate drafts of the budget, but those appearances read more like permissive than restrictive language. Maybe something has happened at the ongoing budget conference meetings that is not reflected in those drafts. ??

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