Lingle says Democrats’
Lingle tried out her budget battle speech yesterday at a Rotary Club luncheon at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, pledging to a sympathetic audience to "make Hawaii a model for fiscal integrity across the nation."
"I don't want to be just better than we were, because that is too simple, because we were horrible. I want us to be the very best in the nation," Lingle said.
Lingle passed out charts showing that by the end of fiscal 2007 the state will have a deficit of $77.5 million. Lingle said she will spend much of the summer presenting her budget concerns to the public in speeches and other appearances.
Blame for the projected deficit, Lingle said, rests with the Democrats in the Legislature who "are spending money we don't have."
Sen. Brian Taniguchi, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said Lingle's budget projection numbers differ by about $100 million from those prepared by the Legislature and she is using "partisan numbers" to attack the Democrats.
"If she doesn't want to fund something, she should just say so and not say we can't afford it," said Taniguchi (D, Moiliili-Manoa).
Senate President Robert Bunda complained that Lingle is not sharing budget figures with the Legislature and that causes confusion and disagreements. "She is manufacturing a crisis," Bunda said.
"I have a problem with her using partisan budget numbers. Her administration has not been forthcoming," Bunda (D, Wahiawa-Pupukea) said.
Lingle said the state has $167 million in increased interest payments on past construction loans and $60 million in extra public employee retirement costs that is throwing the budget out of balance.
Taniguchi responded that the Legislature has already included much of those extra costs and that the fault is not with the budget, but Lingle's math.
Lingle says the budget problems will be solved by finding more money, saving more money and electing more Republicans.
"Instead of spending time and effort to convince the people in the Legislature to change their minds, change the people in the Legislature," Lingle said.
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