An update on budget negotiations:
House and Senate conferees opened negotiations at 9:20 a.m. to a packed conference room with interested parties waiting on the fate of their bills (above). The chairmen then promptly punted to 4:30 p.m.
Ways and Means Chairman Sen. David Ige repeated the Senate’s desire for an “Economic Accelerator Package” focused around five key areas:
>> $400 million for repair and maintenance projects to spur job growth.
>> Enhancement of film and digital media tax credits to create more local jobs and expand the industry statewide.
>> Investment in tourism with $2 million to expand visa programs and increase opportunities for international visitors.
>>Accelerating partnerships with the rental car industry with $500M in revenue bonds to allow Oahu and Maui facilities to be started as soon as possible.
>> Investment in social safety net programs.
Finance Chairman Rep. Marcus Oshiro noted that the House also was looking at stimulating the economy through a balanced approach.
UPDATE (7:30 p.m.)
Budget negotiators convened at 4:30 p.m. but immediately recessed and are now scheduled to return to the table at 9 p.m. Still awaiting final resolution are the supplemental budget, a bond funding measure (CIP budget) and the Judiciary budget.
Other bills that did not get completed by the self-imposed 6 p.m. deadline may still be brought back before the end of the night.
UPDATE (10:40 p.m.)
Conferees reconvened at 9 p.m. and recessed then reconvened and recessed again at 10:15 p.m. after Oshiro said both sides were still hammering out final language. The committee is scheduled to return at 11:15 p.m.
UPDATE (12:30 a.m.)
The midnight deadline came and went with an announcement from Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Shan Tsutsui that negotiators were unable to reach a final agreement on the supplemental budget by the self-imposed deadline.
Oshiro said the conference committee intends to continue work on three bills and vote on them tonight/this morning: the supplemental budget (HB2012), the Judiciary budget (HB1800) and the general obligation bond declaration (HB1838).
Leadership agreed to suspend the internal rules to allow discussions to continue on various other bills that had been negotiated today and were awaiting approval of the budget.
Bills that will be given until Monday include fiscal bills that fit within the parameters of the budget, bills that were agreed to in conference but were awaiting FIN/WAM approval when the previous 6 p.m. deadline passed and bills that were completed but not voted on due to lack of quorum at that time.
UPDATE (3:30 a.m.)
As promised, conferees returned before the end of the night (and before dawn) to pass the supplemental budget, the Judiciary budget and the bond declaration bills.
Final passage of the supplemental budget came at precisely 2:59 a.m.
Details were light, with the agreement coming so late, but there was some clarity on an issue that had been a sticking point: the amount of bond financing for capital improvement projects.
The Senate had proposed an ambitious plan of $500 million in CIP spending, while the House had pushed for an amount closer to $300 million. In the end, the conferees decided on $428 millions with $250 million of that to go toward repair and maintenance projects.
“We went above what the House and governor had originally agreed upon,” Oshiro said. “The Senate also came down from their original request for $500 million.”
Ige ended the conference committee at exactly 3 a.m.with the line of the night: