GOVERNOR’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE: GOVERNOR IGE ANNOUNCES FINAL VETOs
Posted on July 6, 2021 in Latest News, Press Room, Press Releases
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HONOLULU – Governor David Ige has announced that he has vetoed 26 of the 28 bills on his veto list. Earlier today, the governor sent a statement of objections for each of the 26 bills to the Hawaii state legislature, as required by the state constitution.
“There are more bills than usual on the list this year, for two reasons related to the pandemic, and the legislature had no control over the timing of either,” said Governor Ige.
First, the state’s economic standing is much brighter than it was at the start of this year’s legislative session, and federal COVID-19 relief funds have significantly helped the state cope with the efforts. emergency aid in the event of a pandemic. In addition, the return of visitors to the state of Hawaii has led the Council on Revenues to increase its general fund income projections by $ 6.1 billion over a seven-year period.
“This means that we no longer need to take some of the extraordinary revenue measures that have been proposed this legislative session,” Governor Ige said.
Second, the state did not receive guidance from the US Treasury on permitted uses of federal bailout funding until after the legislative session ended on April 29.
“To comply with Treasury guidelines, I am forced to veto several bills, leaving a void in the state budget that must be filled,” Governor Ige said. “I will work with the House and the Senate to resolve this issue. It is essential that we come to an agreement – otherwise we will not be able to move forward with the new CIP projects that have been included in HB200 – Relating to the State budget.
HB53 – Relating to government bonds and HB54 – Relating to the state budget, and two HB200 positions were vetoed for appropriating federal relief funds for purposes which were then prohibited by US Treasury guidelines.
HB613 – Education related has been vetoed due to concerns about adherence to federal guidelines regarding spending of rescue funds. Hawai’i is the only state in the country with a public education agency that is also a local education agency. According to guidelines issued by the US Department of Education, state legislatures do not have the ability to limit a local education agency’s use of funds allocated through the CARES Act or ARPA.
“For this reason, I vetoed HB613. We cannot risk having to repay money to the federal government, ”Governor Ige said.
Policy / implementation concerns
Governor Ige has vetoed other bills over policy and implementation concerns.
SB811 – Regarding the Ministry of Education – COVID-19 tests in public schools are vetoed because the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have already established protocols to report cases, notify contact and prevent transmission in public schools in Hawaii. The measure would increase the potential for identification and intimidation of people, especially students who live in small communities.
HB862 – Relating to State Government is making significant funding and functional changes to the Transitional Accommodation Tax and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. The bill is being vetoed over fears that the measure will seriously undermine HTA’s ability to refocus its efforts beyond marketing, towards destination management.
“Now more than ever, we need to find a more sustainable balance when it comes to the impact of tourism on our communities across the state,” Governor Ige said.
In addition, HB862 contains flaws that would make its implementation very difficult:
- The appropriation of ARPA funds of $ 11 million made in HB200, cannot and does not replace an appropriation of special funds for the operation of the Hawai’i Convention Center.
- The lack of dedicated funds makes it impossible to reestablish convention activities in Hawai’i. This is vital to develop a more sustainable tourism industry based on quality and not on the quantity of visitors.
- The bill does not allow for the long-term planning and execution of a strategic plan for the operations of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority and the Hawai’i Convention Center.
- In addition, counties would be unable to administer the new county TAT tax because the bill does not provide for how it is to be collected, assessed and collected.
- Finally, it is inefficient to create an entirely new set of tax collection systems for each county. Previously, the legislature gave the state the power to assist counties in administering the collection of taxes, such as county surcharges. The legislature did not grant the state that authority in this bill.
The Statement of Objections for all vetoed bills is available here.
HB817 – Relations with agriculture were removed from the veto list and enacted on Friday July 2. Initial concerns included budgetary costs and operational impacts for some state departments. However, it was determined that the bill would help create demand for local food products, which supports Governor Ige’s goal of doubling local food production statewide.