Last week, Hawaii lawmakers passed a litany of tax hikes to cover the state’s overspending problem. Possibly to avoid public attention, the tax increases were quietly passed during a House-Senate Conference Committee meeting on Saturday, April 18 – shortly after the Tax Day Tea Parties took place around the country, including one on the Capitol steps.
- Raising the cigarette tax from $2 to $3 per pack and the tax on smokeless tobacco products from 40% to a whopping 70%. Hawaii’s cigarette taxes have been raised 6 times in the last 7 years alone. (House Bill 1175 and House Bill 895)
- Hiking the hotel occupancy tax from 7.25% to 9.25%. This comes even as Hawaii’s tourism industry has significantly declined. The state’s hotel occupancy rates in February dropped to 75% – the lowest level since 1991. (Senate Bill 1111)
- Increasing the state’s top income tax rate to 12% – easily surpassing California’s 10.3% rate to become the nation’s highest. (House Bill 1747)
- Raising the tax on sales of property and second home purchases. (House Bill 1741)