Tax Revenues Up, Hike Still Advised

September 17, 2012, 10:00 AM HST · Updated September 18, 10:36 AM
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By Sonia Isotov

Despite general fund deposits being up by 11.9% for the first two months into the current 2013 fiscal year, a consultant to the Hawaii Tax Review Commission is recommending a general excise tax hike.

General excise and use taxes, the largest single category of collections, were $256 million in August 2012, according to new figures released last week by the Hawaii Department of Taxation. For the 2013 fiscal year, general excise and use taxes have increased by 12.8% over the previous year.

Transient accommodations tax (TAT) collections were $33.2 million for the month of August 2012. Compared to the 2012 fiscal year, TAT collections are up by 12.2%.

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Meanwhile, a mainland consulting firm, Public Finance Management, recommended to the Hawaii Tax Review Commission a 0.5% increase in the state general excise tax, an idea that met unanimous opposition during a Tuesday hearing last week at the Capitol, according to Pacific Business News.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle quickly signed a letter telling the Tax Review Commission that they were against it, according to another report by the Hawaii Reporter.

Every five years a state Tax Review Commission conducts a systematic review of Hawaii’s tax structure, using standards such as equity and efficiency. The Tax Review Commission consists of seven members who are appointed by the governor, with the consent of the Senate, and is based in the Department of Taxation for administrative purposes. The members of the Commission receive no compensation for their services.

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