The Senate Committee on Ways and Means today voted to pass SB1183 SD2 which addresses the surcharge on the state general excise tax.

The proposed amendment repeals the requirement that 10 percent of revenues from the county surcharge on state tax be withheld to reimburse the State for administrative costs. The surcharge sunsets if an ordinance that allows the capitol costs of a rapid transportation system to be paid from county funds is not enacted before December 31, 2017. It requires the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu to submit certain operation and maintenance plans with respect to the rapid transportation system.

“On such an important measure as this issue, it’s vital we keep the discussion moving on this bill,” said WAM Chair Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 - Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, Āhuimanu). “By repealing the skim, the State is proposing to sacrifice $30 million annually to support this project in order to avoid extending the GET and avoid adding the burden it places on the most vulnerable in our community. As was pointed out during the hearing, there are ways to leverage existing City resources without raising taxes or fees to help pay for the construction of rail. As we are looking to make sacrifices, so too should the City.”

The bill now goes before the full Senate for a vote.

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