BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii County Council has voted to increase the general excise tax.
Starting January 1, a one-quarter percent surcharge will be added to the GET tax. This is estimated to raise about $10 million dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.
Despite the surcharge passing seven to two in the council, the Hawaii Tribune Herald says almost all of the council members were unhappy with the measure. One member even called the bill "one of the stupidest" he's ever seen.
Mayor Harry Kim released a statement saying, "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."
The two dissenting votes were North Kona Council member Dru Kanuha, and Puna Council member Jen Ruggles.
Earlier this year, the council postponed a full half-percent surcharge which the State Legislature allowed with a 2030 expiration. County officials say the latest measure passed is a compromise measure.