Governor David Ige today announced his intention to veto 28 bills passed in the last session of the Hawaii State Legislature.
“Several key considerations were taken into account in my decision making,” said Ige. “First, the state’s economic situation has improved considerably since the start of the legislature, and more importantly, since the conclusion of its work.
Ige explained that recent federal guidelines issued by the U.S. Treasury and other agencies have helped determine what funding can and cannot be used for.
“The bailout funds cannot be used to service the debt,” Ige said. His decision to veto certain bills was necessary to comply with Treasury directives.
The guidelines were released on May 1, a day after the legislature finished its last session, added Ige.
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Among the bills Ige plans to veto include HB 54, which would include federal stimulus funds to replenish the state’s rainy day fund, which he says violates federal guidelines, and HB 613, which allegedly used federal money to pay bonuses to teachers.
“This puts the state at risk of breaking federal rules, which could require the return of funds received,” Ige said.
Ige also plans vetoes on line items in HB 200, which plans to use federal funds for general bond debt service as well as programs providing matching funds for federal dollars.
It will also veto HB 62, which would make significant changes to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and affect the distribution of the state’s tourist accommodation tax.
“We need to find a way to mitigate the impact of visitors to our islands,” said Ige. “(But) this bill will prevent HTA from finding a balance.”
If Ige veto the measure, counties would continue to receive their share of the $ 103 million distributed.
To fill gaps left in the budget, Ige can call the state legislature into extraordinary session, or propose an amended bill for lawmakers to consider when they meet on July 6 to consider vetoes. On that day, if lawmakers are able to pass the governor’s amended bill, a special session would not be necessary.
However, Ige said he is currently considering both options.
Ige has until July 6 to make his final decisions on the bills he will veto.
Watch the press conference via the video above, or go to Governor Ige’s Facebook page.