EMERGENCY FUNDS WILL BE DRAINED UNDER GOVERNOR’S PLAN TO COVER STATE EXPENSES
Hawaii state departments will cut spending by 10 percent effective immediately, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D-HI, said today, because of a $230 million projected budget shortfall in this fiscal year, ending June 30. The cutbacks will save the state an estimated $16 million, but the governor also plans to raid $117 million from the Hurricane Relief fund and $46 million from the Rainy Day fund. That is a total of $163 million or what Senators say is virtually the entire remaining balance of the state’s two primary emergency funds. The governor needs legislative approval and he is likely to receive it from the Democratic majority.
Meanwhile, state agency directors are saying the cuts will dramatically impact their operations and could result in everything from layoffs to services to the needy being cut.
HOUSE GOP OFFERS DEMOCRAT MAJORITY ANOTHER BUDGET OPTION
The House Republican Caucus will hold a news conference on Thursday at 1:15 to present their plan to balance the state budget. Democrats, who control all but 8 seats, have already passed the House budget to the Senate, where it is under review by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. House Republicans said they would have had the budget done sooner, but Democrats would not give them the raw fiscal data they requested.
WILDMAN WON’T BE A CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE
Joe Wildman won’t be a judge – at least for now. Wednesday, Wildman withdrew his nomination for Judge of the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit. Wildman said there is an “unresolved situation” with his law firm, so “decided to withdraw my nomination to prevent any distraction for the Abercrombie Administration and disruption for my family.” Abercrombie promises a replacement nomination soon. The candidates are selected by the Judicial Selection Commission and the final choice is left to the governor.
PROTESTER ARRESTED AT THE CAPITOL
About 70 members of The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 50, staged a protest at the state capitol Wednesday against the so called “local jobs” going to “mainland workers” at the Aloha Stadium. The union, made up of 2,000 comprised of painters, glaziers, architectural metal and glassworkers, carpet, linoleum and soft tile installers and drywall finishers and tapers, want “local jobs for local people.”
The union leaders said one year ago, the “Local Jobs for Local People” bill became law after the legislature overrode Lingle’s veto, but the $11 million renovation of Aloha Stadium, awarded after the law was passed, was awarded to a mainland company.
What’s a good protest without at least one arrest? Union leader Lynn Kinney did not disappoint. He was arrested by state sheriffs after he entered the Department of Accounting and General Services “to protest the fact that former Gov. Linda Lingle gave local jobs away to out-of-state workers.”
Union member Aaron Ho said, “Justice has not been served under the Lingle administration. Local jobs are not being done by local people. We are hurting. Stop giving local jobs away! This state needs to uphold the law that was passed, not arrest our business manager, Lynn Kinney. That’s not pono.”