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Georgia’s run-offs could play a role in the decision to raise Hawaii’s taxes (or not)

People can now track the date their COVID-19 relief payment scheduled to be deposited into...
People can now track the date their COVID-19 relief payment scheduled to be deposited into their bank account or mailed to them.(WLBT)
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 10:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Senate run-offs in Georgia happening Tuesday could impact Hawaii’s financial situation.

The state finance director said the run-offs could result in local lawmakers either raising taxes or not. The logic being: If the democrats win and control the U.S. Senate, it’s more likely that federal funds will head to the state, thus allowing leaders to balance the budget.

But if the opposite happens, tax increases might be needed.

“We didn’t want people to get excited about tax increases that may not materialize,” said Craig Hirai, Hawaii Budget and Finance Director said. “Also, see what the feds might come up with depending on what happens tomorrow.”

Along with possible tax increases and furloughs, the state is also looking for unspent money hidden in special funds and taking the counties’ share of hotel taxes.

This comes as state senators say the Ige Administration is failing to provide sufficient funding for schools in the coming year.

Senators were told by state budget officials that they set aside $6.5 million dollars for Personal Protective Equipment at schools.  Senators say that’s not nearly enough.

“That $6.5 million for 257 schools comes out to little more than 25,000 per school on average. And I will tell you that I know schools have spent well over $100,000 for PPEs for their teachers and administration,” Sen. Michelle Kidani, education chair, said.

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