HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the budget year mostly over, Hawaii state tax revenue is up less than inflation, sharpening the state budget crisis.
From July 1 through March 31, three quarters of the current budget cycle, state tax revenue topped $3 billion, but it's up only 0.3 percent from the same point a year earlier.
That means the tax take isn't even keeping pace with inflation, but the shortfall is really much worse. Because a significant amount of this budget year's revenue was diverted to pay for last year's tax refunds, the amount of money actually available for current state government operations is down 5.5 percent.
Almost two thirds of the revenue the state is collecting comes from general excise and use taxes, and those revenues, now approaching $2 billion, are up 5.7 percent from the same point less year, significantly more than inflation.
Apart from its meaning for the state budget situation, a strong increase in excise tax revenues shows higher consumer and business spending, a good sign for economic recovery.