Governor Lobbies Lawmakers in Final Days of Session for Passage of Several Measures

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Gov. Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, asked Hawaii lawmakers today to reconsider funding the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which will attract leaders from around the world to Hawaii in November 2011.

The Governor and law enforcement requested $2 million in funding for the APEC conference for enhanced security measures, but lawmakers failed last week to include the appropriation in their $22 billion biennium budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 and did not pass House Bill 1012, which outlined the appropriation request.


That could mean law enforcement agencies would be required to find the money for security in their own budgets. The state has requested financial support from the federal government for the conference, but no money has been appropriated.

In the past, when President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have come to Hawaii and required police escorts, and in the case of the President, an ambulance escort, the federal government has not reimbursed the counties or state for these added expenses.

The governor also asked lawmakers to pass other measures that already failed to come out of conference committee, House members told Hawaii Reporter, for a total of an additional $10 million.

That includes seed money for his planned undersea power cable, which could cost the state $1 billion in the long run; funding for the UH Medical School and funding for public education. How the measures will be funded to create a balanced budget was not disclosed.

Lawmakers are scheduled to meet Tuesday, May 3, for final voting on several measures that passed conference committees last week. The session ends May 5, and May 4 is a recess day.

Many of the governor’s proposals, including plans to start a new tax on retirees’ pensions and increase alcohol taxes by 50 percent and raise soda taxes by 10 cents a bottle, failed to gain approval in the Senate.

House and Senate negotiations over several other bills that would raise taxes, such as streamline internet tax and a General Excise Tax increase, did not pass after relations between the two bodies were strained.

Spokesperson for Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Donalyn Dela Cruz, could not be reached for comment.