County Council Votes to Increase General Excise Tax
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.
“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.