Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, June 12, 2003

Lingle properly axes airport giveaway bill

Gov. Linda Lingle has done the right thing in vetoing Senate Bill 44, a bill designed to give economic relief to airport concessionaires.

Unlike some major issues of the day, this one is not about politics. Former Gov. Ben Cayetano vetoed a similar bill a year ago.

SB 44 deserved a veto because it was badly drafted and because it's bad policy. Its essence was to take the risk out of doing business at the airport, under almost any circumstances.

Sure, business conditions at the state's airports are bad. You've heard the litany of SARS, Iraq and Sept. 11, which contribute to a slowdown in airport use.

Those conditions, of course, are hurting businesses everywhere, and you don't see Hawai'i government allowing them to default repeatedly on their leases and contracts.

As Lingle pointed out, airport tenants already have the ability to negotiate alternative terms with the state.

Perhaps the most objectionable effect of the bill would have been not only to let DFS-Hawaii off the hook for sending $100 million to its owner while saying it was too broke to pay the state. It would also extend to DFS even more — open-ended — relief.

We're relieved that this bill is dead.