Monday, August 15, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, February 8, 2010
Senate bill would force Governor to spend money State does not have
By News Release @ 6:45 PM :: 6041 Views :: Energy, Environment

GOVERNOR’S CABINET TESTIFIES AGAINST BILL TO CURTAIL BUDGETARY AUTHORITY OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH

HONOLULU – Members of the Governor’s Administration today testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on the importance of preserving the Executive Branch’s authority to manage the State’s finances.

A bill (SB2007) being considered by the Legislature would limit the authority of the Governor and director of finance to restrict the release of funds, reduce allotments or suspend or abolish existing programs even if the State does not have sufficient revenues to pay for them.

Furthermore, this measure would essentially give the Legislature the sole power to determine the establishment or abolishment of new or existing programs that use public funds.

“SB2007 infringes on the separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive Branches, and also infringes on the Governor’s authority to administer the budget. It is the responsibility of the Governor under the State Constitution to ensure that the budget is balanced and expenditures are made prudently. In order to do so, the Governor requires the flexibility and authority to render financial decisions,” said Barry Fukunaga, the Governor’s chief of staff in written testimony. 

Budget Director Georgina Kawamura, who submitted testimony stated that limiting the authority of the Governor and Executive Branch could adversely impact the State’s bond rating. The Governor’s authority to reduce expenditures has been cited by all three bond rating agencies as one of the State’s credit strengths and a determining factor in maintaining Hawai‘i’s favorable bond ratings. 

“Unlike many states, Hawai‘i’s Governor has strong executive powers to cut spending and balance the budget and recent actions to reduce expenses underscore ongoing willingness to take those steps,” Moody’s Investors Services cited in its February 4, 2010 credit rating report for Hawai‘i.  Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, the other nationally recognized rating agencies,  also emphasized that the ability of the Governor of Hawai‘i to curtail expenditures without legislative approval is key to maintaining Hawai‘i’s favorable ratings when the State borrows money.

Fukunaga pointed out in his testimony that it would be impractical and infeasible for the Legislature to call itself back into session for the sole purpose of authorizing restrictions when the State faces dramatic budget shortfalls, as has been the case over the past year-and-a-half.

He cited recent examples when the Executive Branch implemented significant budget restrictions in fiscal year 2008-2009 to balance the budget following multiple lower projections by the Council on Revenues over a short period of time.

Kawamura expressed similar concerns.

“During periods of fiscal uncertainty, it is critical that the Governor and Executive Branch have the authority and flexibility to control spending, reduce expenses, and economize available resources,” said Kawamura in her written testimony.

Kawamura said the current law that provides the Executive Branch with the authority to restrict funds is critical to managing the State’s finances and keeping spending in line with revenue collections.

“We strongly oppose this bill because the proposed amendments (to the current law) would seriously undermine and impair the ability of the Governor and the Executive Branch to manage State programs and resources for efficiency, productivity and economy,” said Kawamura.

“When revenues are deemed insufficient or uncertain, fiscal prudence must be exercised to avoid deficits in the budget,” said Kawamura.  “Where program requirements need further examination and justification, management review is the prerequisite for expending public funds.  Actions to control expenditures are exercised as needed throughout the year by the Executive Branch in its capacity as administrator of State programs and finances.”

Both Chief of Staff Fukunaga and Deputy Budget Director Barbara Annis, who testified on behalf of Kawamura, urged the Ways and Means Committee to hold the bill in committee. 

###

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT