Hawaii Governor Proposes Tax Relief to Lower Cost of Living


HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. Josh Green on Monday proposed investing $1 billion in affordable housing and giving tax breaks to people of all income levels to lower the cost of living in the islands.

Green told lawmakers during his first State of the State address at a joint session of the state Legislature that tax breaks would get money into the pockets of working families so they can pay for food, medicine and housing. He said the tax breaks would also stimulate the economy because “every dollar” that goes to working families with limited assets and income would be spent immediately.

Green said every family of four could expect to get $2,000 in tax relief under his plan, while lower-income residents would get more.

“This plan makes sure every income bracket does a little better and directly lowers the cost of living for every single resident by keeping more money in our pockets for each taxpayer, especially those who are wrestling with survival,” Green said.

The proposal includes doubling the standard tax deduction and providing tax credits to families paying for childcare, babysitters, after-school care and adult day care.

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Green estimates the plan will lower state revenue by $312.7 million a year.

The Democratic governor told reporters after his speech that the issue he heard about most during his campaign for the state’s highest office was how unaffordable Hawaii is. He said his plan would help stem the exodus of people leaving the islands for less expensive places to live.

“If we cut some of the costs on early education or adult daycare and we put some tax dollars back into people’s pockets, then they can stay in Hawaii. That connects right to their affordability and helps us,” Green told reporters.

The $1 billion for housing would include funds to boost financing for more affordable housing units through the Housing Finance and Development Corporation and provide state rental subsidies to low-income families. Some money would to go to renovate and upgrade public housing.

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