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Hawaii lawmakers debate tax hikes amid many votes

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Hawaii lawmakers are considering tax increases amid hundreds of bills getting votes Tuesday as the Legislature enters the final weeks of this year’s session facing deep budget difficulties.

The House and Senate planned to pass the measures before Thursday’s deadline for them to clear their nonoriginating chambers and advance to conference committees.

Much of the debate Tuesday was expected to surround measures raising taxes to help address a projected $1.3 billion shortfall over the next two years.

Tax measures being considered would apply to pensions, online purchases, business exemptions, deductions and more.

But senators last week killed a proposal to raise the state’s broadest tax, the general excise tax.

The Legislature remains hundreds of millions of dollars short of a balanced budget, even including tax increases and spending cuts.

 

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