Governor Linda Lingle’s Veto Ceremony at the State Capitol

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO5vdLB8KpM&hl=en&fs=1]

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  1. Lingle should have made an effort to work on a compromise rather than doing her grandstanding veto drama. Anyway, from my point of view, here is a look at the winners and losers in this state budget drama:

    GOVERNOR LINGLE:
    Lost budget battle (her vetos overridden), but won rhetoric media game against the Legislature and the Unions (with her catchy “anti-taxes” and “anti fat union workers” sound bites): Given that winning the rhetoric game seemed more important to her, we can surmise she has further political aspirations. Lingle also lost her effort to pit the unions and the mayors against each other; and also lost in her effort to pit the mayors and the Legislature against each other. [In other words threatening the Mayors that if they did not join her effort to gut the unions –e.g. to force the unions to forfeit 278 million in state and county employee pay/benefits; and threatening the Mayors to stick with her against the Legislature – when she anticipated the final form of HB1744 would include taking the Counties TAT funds starting this year.]

    STATE LEGISLATURE: Won budget battle (successfully overrode Governor’s vetos); Lost the rhetoric media battle: In fact there really wasn’t any media battle since there wasn’t so much as a peep out of Legislators explaining their position. Finally in Today’s Honolulu Advertiser, there is an intelligent comment from Senate President Hanabusa:
    http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20090509/NEWS02/905090351 and see Ian Lind’s blog on this point and the failure of the media to explain what the budget debate was all about:
    http://ilind.net/2009/05/09/saturday-2a-1997-attorney-general-opinion-re… and see my many blogs below about the underlying politics in the state house budget drama.

    MAYORS: Partial Win: For this year won the TAT revenue battle –state legislators backed off on taking the County’s portion of the TAT revenues for the 2009-2010 budget; but HB1744 as passed takes these critically needed revenues away from the Counties starting in July 2010 [We gotta change that raid on the Counties before July 2010 –to be sure!]; Win in terms of not allowing the Governor to pit the Mayors (the Counties) against the unions. Had the Senate not amended the House version of the TAT bill -HB1744, the Governor would have likely won her game plan to force the Mayors into submission to join her band standing against the unions in order to retain their TAT revenues (recall she said “stick with me” (meaning she would veto any bill taking away the Counties TAT funds, so long as the Mayors join her frontal attack on the union contracts).

    UNIONS (STATE AND COUNTY WORKERS): Union contract terms still to be negotiated – so that is still undecided; Partial win in that Governor Lingle was not able to force a “voluntary” furlough program on the Unions, and in that the Legislature did not cave into Lingle’s vetos (with her promise to make the unions take a 278 million dollar cut in pay and benefits so as to ). See Ian Lind’s blog on this point: http://ilind.net/2009/05/09/saturday-2a-1997-attorney-general-opinion-re

    TAXPAYERS
    1. Wealthiest Taxpayers –top 2.6% of taxpayers: Lost-with a tax rate increase for earnings over $150,000. (joint income over $300,000.);
    2. The rest of us Taxpayers -Won—no increase in tax rates for earnings under $150,000, and no increase in the general excise tax; and Counties keep the TAT revenues (at least for this year). Therefore Counties will not raise property tax rates.
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    WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NEXT –THAT IS, IF THE ABOVE PLAYERS WERE WILLING TO ACT LIKE ADULTS INSTEAD OF LIKE TODDLERS IN A SANDBOX THROWING SAND AT EACH OTHER:It is time to set aside differences and gather together to brainstorm ideas as to how to raise revenues rather than next year again cutting valuable programs. SEE margaretwille.com if you want to read my suggestions.

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