June 20, 2003



Honorable Members

Twenty-Second Legislature

State of Hawaii

Pursuant to Section 16 of Article III of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, I am returning herewith, without my approval, Senate Bill No. 1135, entitled "A Bill for an Act Relating to Court Fees."

The purpose of this bill is to authorize certain district court fees to be deposited in the judiciary computer system special fund and to appropriate $3.5 million from that fund in each year of the biennium to implement the judiciary information management system.

This bill is objectionable because it takes amounts that would have been deposited into the general fund and deposits those funds in a special fund instead. This has a negative impact on the State's limited resources.

While I believe this project to be worthwhile, I am confident that there are other, more appropriate financing mechanisms available to the Judiciary. Meanwhile, the State's current fiscal condition cannot be ignored.

The two-year budget recently passed by the Legislature is not balanced. The Legislature failed to include funding for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for the second year of the biennium. Such action would make sense only if one assumed that all state hospitals would be shut down one year from now. Because this assumption is not realistic, the budget passed by the Legislature is not fiscally sound.

The challenge presented by this budget increased after the Legislature adjourned when the Council on Revenues on May 16 reduced the revenue projection for the current year and the upcoming biennium by $186.7 million. The combined impact of lower revenue projections and unrealistic assumptions by the Legislature has resulted in a budget deficit of more than $230 million.

The State must now make the hard choices to restrict spending and resist tax increases in order to create a healthy business climate that will lead to more and better-paying jobs and a quality standard of living for Hawaii's families. In short, we must begin to put our financial house back in order by doing all that we can to match recurring expenses with recurring revenues.

Decisions like the one to veto this bill are not easy, but they are necessary. Without fiscal discipline and prudent management of the budget now, it will be impossible to restore trust and integrity in government and expand and diversify the economy in the years ahead. This kind of tough decision is needed in order to achieve a true New Beginning for the people of Hawaii.

Furthermore, Judiciary personnel have assured my administration that a veto of this bill will not stop the Judiciary from continuing to upgrade its information management system during the coming year.

For the foregoing reasons, I am returning Senate Bill No. 1135 without my approval.





Governor of Hawaii