Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Maui senator criticizes
the governor over veto

Gov. Linda Lingle's rejection of a bill to spend $611,500 for emergency helicopter service for Maui County has "enraged" Valley Island residents, said Sen. Roz Baker (D, Honokohau-Makena).

Lingle said she vetoed the bill because it called for the creation of a statewide emergency helicopter service but only provided money for Maui service. The state could be sued if someone on another neighbor island demanded emergency helicopter service and it was not available, she said.

Also, the governor noted, the state is facing a $230 million shortfall and cannot afford the service.

"While it truly would be wonderful to have emergency aeromedical helicopter services statewide, the state cannot spend money that it does not have," she said in her veto message.

Baker also criticized Lingle's veto of a mandatory long-term care program that would be paid for by taking $10 a month from every worker in Hawaii.

Baker said that Lingle "didn't consult with people who could have given her information and didn't look carefully enough to make intelligent or informed decisions."

Lingle defended her veto, saying that bills were first reviewed by her Cabinet, who sought further comment from lawmakers if there were objections.

Leaders in the House and Senate said yesterday that while there were concerns about the high number of vetoes -- 50 -- there did not seem to be enough support to gather the two-thirds vote needed to override them.


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