Updated: December 4, 2023
Two house committees passed a measure Tuesday to provide broad tax relief to Hawaiʻi residents.
The House Committee on Education and Committee on Economic Development held a joint hearing Tuesday during which members approved House Bill 1049 on second reading.
HB1049 aims to restructure the state’s income tax brackets, increase tax credits for working families, and create tax credits for teacher expenses.
The measure would double the standard deduction for individual filers from $2,200 to $5,000, and double the personal exemption from $1,144 to $2,288. Additionally, Hawaiʻi’s renters would see relief through increased tax credits.
“This measure provides much-needed relief for our families who work hard every day to maintain their households and make ends meet,” said Economic Development Chair Daniel Holt (D-28, Sand Island, Iwilei, Chinatown) in a news release. “By reducing the financial burden on families, we empower them to make choices that benefit our local economy and bring growth to our communities.”
HB1049 also aims to provide a tax credit for teachers’ qualifying expenses which include: classroom books, supplies, computer equipment, and supplementary materials. According to the bill, qualified instructors include those who are employed by the Stateʻs Department of Education, a charter school, or a private school in Hawaiʻi as a kindergarten through Grade 12 teacher for at least 900 hours during the tax year. Members of the committee discussed the idea of including pre-kindergarten teachers in this qualification.
“Teachers play a critical role in shaping the future of our children and our society, and it is vital for us to continue to support their efforts and listen to what they’ve been asking for,” said Education Chair Justin Woodson (D-9, Kahului, Pu‘unēnē, portion of Wailuku).
The measure now heads to second reading on the House floor.