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County Council Votes to Increase General Excise Tax

June 29, 2018, 6:35 PM HST (Updated June 29, 2018, 7:06 PM)
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The Hawai‘i County Council voted to pass Bill 159, which increases the General Excise Tax (GET) 0.25% by a 7-2 vote on Friday, June 29, 2018.

The two dissenting votes were North Kona Council Member Dru Kanuha, and Puna Council Member Jen Ruggles.

The Council earlier this year postponed a full half-percent surcharge which the State Legislature allowed with a 2030 expiration; so the just-passed bill was a compromise measure.

The tax is itself taxed, so the 0.25 percent tax on a $100 purchase would increase by 26 cents, raising the purchase from $104.17 to $104.43, once the 4% state GET is also taken into account.

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“I’m extremely grateful for this decision. This is nothing but good for the people of this Island. We needed so badly to try to make this a better place. We were in a very difficult situation financially in the Budget, and the Council came through,” said Mayor Harry Kim after the 7-2 vote to pass the 0.25% surcharge to the GET.  

Under Bill 159, the County of Hawai’i surcharge will raise an estimated $20 million a year, and will start January 1, 2019 and sunset on December 31, 2020.

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