The state House voted on Monday to pass a bill that would spare businesses from an increase in the unemployment insurance tax.
The unemployment insurance tax is scheduled to automatically increase to help finance a reserve used to pay unemployment benefits. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has estimated that the rate increase could cost businesses $300 more on average per employee.
The bill would keep the existing rate for another year.
House lawmakers have made the bill a priority and want the Legislature and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to take action by early March, before businesses have to pay the higher rate. The state Senate will now consider the bill.