HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Senate Ways and Means Committee has approved a bill to extend the half percent excise tax to fund the rail project but for only 5 years.
Senate Bill 19 would have continued the tax until the end of 2047, it's currently set to expire in 2022. However the committee voted 6-to-2 to pass an amended bill, trimming the proposed extension by 20 years. Under the current version of the bill, the tax would expire in 2027.
The bill will go to the full senate for a vote next week. It's expected to pass and go to the state House. Meanwhile the House Finance Committee has begun its hearing into extending the rail surcharge. It could pass its own proposal Wednesday night or delay a vote and wait for the Senate bill to continue discussion. A final decision is not expected until near the end of the legislative session in May.