One day after Hawaii's Governor Linda Lingle vetoed four new tax bills, Democrat lawmakers overrode all four vetoes in a special session. The Hawaii State Senate is composed of twenty-three Democrats and two Republicans. The House has forty-six Democrats and five Republicans. "The tax increases the legislature passed over my override is going to make the economic recovery more difficult and it's going to create additional job loss in the state," said the Governor.
Governor Lingle had vetoed the four tax measures in front of a large crowd at the State Capitol. Lingle tried to enlist public support for the vetoes when she explained her reasoning to the enthusiastic throng. "We have one chance…" Lingle stated. Of the legislators, the governor said, "I've spoken to them in person in their office, I spoken with them in small groups in my conference room, I've written to them about the impact." Lingle said Democratic lawmakers ignored her plans for economic recovery.
Lawmakers in favor of raising the taxes said they were key to balancing the state budget. Governor Lingle responded saying "That's not true, and they know it's not true." The governor had proposed furloughs for state workers and adjustments to health care benefits. The furloughs would have amounted to fifteen days a year. The health care adjustments would have included options.
"Contrary to what the governor says, she has not given us options," said state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa. Hanabusa had said there were enough votes to override the vetoes and promised to override the tax increase vetoes.
State Senate Minority Leader Fred Hemmings exclaimed, "There are tough choices to be made, but we could have made them during our budget process so we wouldn't have to raise taxes. How much sacrifice has been given by government labor unions? I challenge you, stand up and tell me what sacrifice that special interest group has made. Everyone else in the state, private and public, is taking a hit."
In addition, State residents and visitors may face proposed new city and county taxes.