Gov. Linda Lingle addressed reporters yesterday at the opening news conference of the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C.

Lingle paints
Hawaii as


By Richard Borreca

WASHINGTON >> While appearing before two national groups this weekend, Gov. Linda Lingle went to work pitching Hawaii as a state ready to do business and promising to be a chief executive who will support business ventures.

Lingle in Washington

Gov. Linda Lingle will be joining the nation's other 49 governors in a meeting with President Bush tomorrow. Here are the other major appearances and meetings Lingle has planned:

Tomorrow: OHA Washington office opening; appear on CNN's Crossfire at 11 a.m.; meet with presidential advisor Karl Rove; meet with Christie Todd Whitman, Environmental Protection Agency head.

Tuesday: Testify in favor of Hawaiian recognition bill before Senate Indian Affairs committee; meet with aides to Sens. Jon Kyl and Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

Wednesday: Meet in New York City with Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investor Services and Fitch Ratings, the three top bond rating services.

Thursday: Meet with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

In an opening news conference yesterday for the National Governors Association winter meeting, Lingle said that if states had controlled their spending during the boom days of the past decade, they would not be looking at deficits today.

She said states have to resist spending "when times are good" in order to save for financial downturns.

"As an observer and as someone who has been listening to a lot of governors, it appears to me that most states spent everything they had during the good times," Lingle said.

Her remarks drew a sharp disagreement from the NGA head, Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton, who said states put 5 percent to 10 percent of their surpluses into rainy-day funds and cut taxes collectively by $33 billion.

Lingle, however, said it would make sense now for states to look for ways to create more jobs and spur investment.

"The states need to adjust their tax policies as to how they treat businesses in their states," she said.

Speaking before the Republican Governors Association later in the day, Lingle said Hawaii's economy is on the upswing because of a rise in tourism and a new business optimism.

"There was a lot of delayed investment in the state -- I ran on a pro-business, pro-jobs platform, and we don't apologize for it," Lingle said at an RGA news conference.

"The people who make the investments were happy to the see the change, and we will see more in to create more jobs," she said.

Lingle also did some budget-cutting while in Washington, saying Hawaii would no longer pay the $56,000 in annual dues to belong to the National Governors Association. She said about 16 states have already announced they would stop paying dues.

Lingle said she was cutting the dues as a financial matter, but also agreed with objections she heard from other GOP governors who complained the NGA is dominated by Democrats, even though the Republicans enjoy a 26-governor majority.

The governors meeting here this weekend are expected to take some stand regarding President Bush's demands that Iraq disarm. Lingle said she expects Bush already has the support of the GOP state leaders.

"I would tell you across the board, the governors support the president on this issue," she said.

"He must believe it firmly that this is so important to protect the people of America, or he wouldn't support it," Lingle told reporters yesterday.

She added that he expected that most of Hawaii's citizens would support Bush in case of war with Iraq.

"We have a large number of veterans and a large military presence, so there is always some reluctance to be critical of the president," Lingle said.

Today, Lingle will attend a "governors and spouses only" black-tie dinner with Bush and the first lady at the White House.

Lingle, who is not married, will be accompanied by Micah Kane, Hawaiian Home Lands director and the former head of the Hawaii GOP.

Office of the Governor

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --