A long, taxing night

February 24th, 2010

^^House Finance Chairman Marcus Oshiro (Screencap from Olelo.org)

House lawmakers met late into the evening to decide on various tax proposals all aimed at closing the state’s $1.23 billion budget gap.

All of the tax bills were on Agenda #6, scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Finance Committee. (The agenda wasn’t taken up until about 9:45 p.m.)

The most prominent measure advanced by the committee was House Bill 2598, the proposal to scoop the Transient Accommodations Tax from the counties.

Rather than scoop the full amount — estimated at $100 million for the upcoming fiscal year — the committee amended the bill to instead temporarily cap the amount of TAT money going to the counties at the current level of $94.3 million a year. The state would get any revenue above that amount and the cap would be in place for the next five fiscal years, starting July 1.

Mayors and other county executives had lobbied hard against the total TAT scoop, saying  the loss of the those funds would lead to larger budget deficits on their ends, forcing them to look at increases in property taxes. A similar measure advanced last year but ultimately stalled, leaving the TAT money in place.

The committee deferred HB 2876, which would have temporarily increase the general excise tax and use tax rates by one percentage point to 5 percent.

Also deferred was HB 2880, which would have temporarily increased the “wholesale” rates under the general excise, use, and public service company taxes to one per cent from one-half per cent.

Lawmakers were working late into the night ahead of Friday’s decking deadline to have bills in their final form for final reading before sending them to the Senate for further vetting.

One Response to “A long, taxing night”

  1. Sylvia Seaborn:

    Why was HB 2306 not reported on? This one effectively gives a pay raise to the State Librarian (whose librarians are suffering from furlough days and patrons who have the library closed) and Superintendent (whose teachers and students and parents are suffering from furlough days). Why do we always say we need to give higher raises to attract people? The ones whose heart is there will apply for the job, regardless of the pay simply because they believe they are the ones who know how to turn things around and improve them. I don’t think Richard Burns or Katherine Matayoshi would turn down their jobs at their current pay levels and go do something else, do you? How do we explain this to teachers, parents, students, librarians, and library patrons, who have to deal with furloughs and less pay?

Leave a Reply