Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 - Gov. David Ige along with leaders from the state House and Senate announced a new package that includes tax relief, affordable-housing plans and a preschool development program. These initiates aim to provide cost-of-living relief to Hawaii’s low-income and working-class residents.
This bill packages specifically includes an increase to the state minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2024, and a plan to have about $75 million per year in tax relief for less wealthy households. Additionally, the package contains a “Learning to Grow” initiative, that plans to use public funds to expand the amount of preschools available to children.
In regards to the tax plan, it would create a new refundable state earned income tax credit that could potentially help about 90,000 Hawaii taxpayers.
The refundable state income tax credit “is huge for low-income working families,” said Gavin Thornton, executive director of the nonprofit Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice. “We’re absolutely thrilled with that piece of this.”
“The thing that I’m most excited about is the coming together,” Thornton said. “This type of thing hasn’t happened before where you’ve had the Legislature, the administration, business leaders, nonprofits getting together in the same room to try to figure out these problems, and the focus is on Hawaii’s struggling families.”
For advocacy groups including ours, Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network, Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE) and Appleseed, we have issued a joint statement that states we “have no comment on any specific legislation until more details are released.”