Proposal to raise taxes to better fund education passes key hurdle at state Senate

Proposal to raise taxes to better fund education passes key hurdle at state Senate
The half-percent increase would generate at least $200 million for the Department of Education, and at least $50 million for the University of Hawaii. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A measure that would raise taxes in Hawaii to better fund education passed a key committee Friday.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee advanced the proposal, which raise the general excise tax to 4 1/2 percent.

Officials say the tax hike would generate about $200 million for public schools and $50 million for the University of Hawaii.

But opponents say the tax will boost the state’s already high cost of living.

The measure now heads to the full Senate floor for a vote.

State Sen. Brian Taniguchi said tax increases are never popular, but “I think most of us feel that there should be more support for our schools and our teachers.”

House leaders, meanwhile, say before they’ll consider tax increases they want the Education Department to show them how its using state funding properly.

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