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. ??


  1. This post reads like it should be on Larry’s Disappeared News blog, Doug.

    If this budget would have cut deeper into the departments, then I would say it would have been more vulnerable for a veto, especially had it completely obliterated DBEDT, HHSC, and DOH. What came out was a much milder version – thanks to the ARRA funds and buckets of raids on special funds.

    DOUG: Is the DN comparison intended as a compliment, or as an insult? :)

    Well, in any case, the Gov is planning a public event for her veto of the bills to raise taxes. Perhaps at that time we’ll hear something about the likelihood of and reasoning behind any veto of the overall budget—or maybe the media will make an effort to ask about it.

    Comment by hipoli — May 4, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  2. I think Im on a roll if you cant tell if Im being naughty or nice to you.

    I predict the Gov’s side show isnt going to stir the pot the way she hopes it will. The inevitable is coming: raised taxes by the city, state, and feds coupled with eventual stateworker paycuts through executive ordered furlough — and according to Warren Buffet — inflation is next. Our lifestyles are on the slow motion downward, but because its in such slow motion, it doesnt seem real. Lingle can try to make the Legislature the bad guys but its all really simple: Blame Bush. I do. Every day. Idiot. But I also blame all of us – for our collective complacency – then and now. Of course, its ironic, because its exactly that complacency Lingle is going to try to shake out of us today. Unfortunately, she’s just not the messenger to do it – I want to say ‘anymore’ – but its more like ‘ever’, isnt it?

    Today, she’ll sound more like whining, ineffective Slom, waving around paper, calling everyone else stupid, while we nod our heads up and down and then hand over our tax money anyways. Poor thing, is that whats become of her political career?

    Comment by hipoli — May 5, 2009 @ 6:51 am

  3. I can’t believe you’d spend even a punctutation point’s worth of space discussing anything Larry Price has to say, unless it’s to show that no one furhter up the Lenny Klompus spin chain (there certainly couldn’t be anyone lower) is saying anything. Really, the man is a bozo.

    DOUG: Heh. I thought as much. But, darn it, ya just gotta like the coach! He’s the voice of that one chucklehead uncle everyone has…

    Comment by Anonymous — May 5, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  4. So – what did you all think of her show? To me, its nothing more than her set up to now hand out walking papers to a lot of state employees, just as soon as that COR comes out.

    DOUG: I had a hard time connecting to her site, and then when I finally connected I discovered that I needed a special plug-in to watch the thing on my Mac. So I went to the Real site, and tried to figure out which one was “free” and by that time … I had lost interest and decided to take Perl for her walk.

    Comment by hipoli — May 6, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

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