Hawaii Governor Proposes Tax Breaks to Lower Cost of Living

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Monday he wants to invest $1 billion in affordable housing and give tax breaks to people of all income levels to lower the cost of living in the state.

He told lawmakers in his first State of the State address that tax breaks would give money to working families.

The governor said each family of four could expect to receive $2,000 in tax relief under that plan, and low-income residents could expect more.

According to Green, that initiative would help prevent residents from leaving the islands in search of less expensive locations.

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Hawaii Governor Josh Green speaks to reporters

Hawaii Governor Josh Green speaks to reporters after delivering his State of the State address to a joint session of the state legislature in Honolulu, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Green on Monday proposed investing $1 billion in affordable housing and givi ((AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy) / AP Newsroom)

“This plan ensures that every income level does a little better and directly lowers the cost of living for every resident by keeping more money in our pockets for every taxpayer, especially those struggling to survive,” he said.

In addition, the proposal includes doubling the standard tax deduction and giving tax credits to families who pay for child care, babysitters, after-school care and adult day care.

Hawaii House Majority Leader Rep. Nadine Nakamura

Hawaii House Majority Leader Rep. Nadine Nakamura speaks to reporters in Honolulu Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, after Governor Josh Green delivered his State of the State address at a session joint state legislature. ((AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy) / AP Newsroom)

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Green estimated that the plan would reduce state revenue by $312.7 million annually. The $1 billion for housing would include funds to boost financing for more affordable housing units through the Housing Development and Finance Corporation and provide state rental subsidies to low-income families. Additionally, some of the money would be used to renovate and improve public housing.

Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi and Vice President Michelle Kidani.

Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi, left, and Vice President Michelle Kidani speak to reporters in Honolulu Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, after Governor Josh Green delivered his State of the State address at a joint session of the state legislature. ((AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy) / AP Newsroom)

“If we cut some of the costs of early education or adult daycare and put a few tax dollars back into people’s pockets, then they can stay in Hawaii,” Green later told reporters.

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State law requires the governor and legislators to write their budgets based on forecasts from the state Board of Revenue, which are expected to be updated in March.

Hawaii began the year with a surplus of $1.9 billion thanks to the tourism industry.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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