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Environmental groups: Tax to save Hawaii’s water

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Environmental advocates are urging the Hawaii Legislature to help preserve Hawaii’s water by increasing taxes on high-end property sales.

The House Committee on Water and Land gave approval to a bill Monday that increases the conveyance tax on property worth $2 million or more and marks the funds for water protection and other natural resources.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila says the bill is the top priority for his department this session.

The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Maui Invasive Species Committee and other environmental groups are pushing for the bill.

Opponents include the Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaii Association of Realtors.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said during the State of the State address that he supports the initiative.

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