Governor Ige vetoes overspending in next state budget

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Governor David Ige has vetoed excessive appropriations of federal funding for the US $17 billion state budget rescue package for the coming year.

The state legislature has allocated more than $104 million with 22 project allocations.

Ige made the announcement on Wednesday and declared his intention to sign the state budget, House Bill 1600, on Thursday.

“I think a lot of credits are worth it,” Ige said. “We are in the process of reprioritizing based on the vetoes taken and the actions we need to take to balance sustaining efforts.”

Last week, Ige said he intended to veto HB 1147, a bill that awarded about $88.5 million to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. He called the bill “unconstitutional” for the gutting and replacement tactics used that did not allow for a public discourse on the measure.

“We are working with HTA to make sure they are funded for the programs they need,” Ige said.

While he didn’t say how much was going to HTA, he said they received federal funding last year and were working to see how much was left.

“We will work with the duty of the agency to determine what is the current status of the bailout funds they received last year, we will review what contracts they need to perform and what funding is needed, then provide the funds for rescue to cover all these needs,” said Ige.

Ige also cut $23 million in funding for the Wahiawa Spillway and Lake Wilson Reservoir, saying neither the Department of Agriculture nor the Department of Lands and Natural Resources did “due diligence.” for this project, the appropriate funding for plot repairs and compliance measures.

A Hawaii Emergency Management Agency project for a first responder technology campus in Mililani has also seen significant cuts. Ige reduced the credits from $51.6 million to $16.6 million.

“Planning and permitting for the campus is still in its early stages,” Ige said. “A master plan should be prepared to subdivide the campus to enable participation and development of facilities by non-state bodies. It is highly unlikely that these steps can be completed before project funding expires in June 2024.”

Overall, Ige said the bulk of the appropriations granted by the state legislature were appropriate.

“We believe that we are well positioned to be able to meet the needs of our community, while advancing the community in so many important areas,” he concluded.

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