The state House passed a bill Tuesday increasing the counties’ share of transient accommodation tax revenue.
But, even though Senate Bill 648 passed both chambers, Hawaii County can’t consider it money in the bank just yet.
That’s because the House essentially gutted and replaced the Senate’s version, which dealt with income tax credits, rather than the TAT.
The Senate will have until April 12 to agree with the changes. If senators disagree, then the bill moves to a conference committee at the end of the legislative session, where lawmakers from both chambers try to hash out their differences.
If the bill is signed into law, Hawaii County would receive about $31.3 million a year in TAT revenue, up from the current amount of $19.2 million. Other efforts to increase the counties’ share have stalled the past several years.
That amount is no small potatoes for the county as costs continue to outpace revenue.
Mayor Harry Kim’s proposed $515.7 million budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1 doesn’t include additional tax hikes, but it also leaves out the purchase of additional buses, funding for a homeless program and additional police officer positions that he identified as needed.
Companion bills extending the timeline for counties to pass a general excise tax increase until June 30 are moving through the House and Senate. The current deadline is March 31.
The County Council postponed further action on a proposed half-cent GET increase to no later than May 5. That would raise at least $25 million for the county each year.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.