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Lawmakers delay decisions on tax hikes and budget

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Hawaii lawmakers are nearing decisions on raising a variety of taxes and cutting government programs, but they haven’t agreed on how to do so yet.

House and Senate negotiators delayed until Thursday votes on eliminating business tax exemptions, raiding special funds, hiking liquor taxes, curtailing their own pay, reducing tax deductions and starting a pension tax.

They also were considering about $200 million in annual cuts to the state’s budget, which is facing a projected $1.3 billion shortfall over the next two years.

The Legislature faces a Friday deadline to craft final versions of bills in anticipation of final floor votes next week.

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