Hawaii House and Senate re-introduce Streamlined Sales Tax legislation!

January 26, 2011

As we reported to you yesterday, the Senate Majority Leader in Hawaii, Senator Brickwood Galuteria, recently introduced SB 568, a short-form bill, as a placeholder until the final draft legislation of the legislation was completed by the subject matter chair. Well, earlier today, Hawaii State Senator Carol Fukunaga, chair of the Economic Development and Technology Committee, filed SB 1355, an act to “adopt changes to Hawaii’s tax law that will allow Hawaii to participate in the national Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.”  The bill was cosponsored by Senators Chun Oakland, Baker, Ige, Kidani, Tokuda, Green, Ryan, and Shimabukuro.

The act would take effect upon passage of the bill, rather than on a future specified date. In other words, the intent is to act as quickly as possible. In fact, the bill states that ” Hawaii would benefit tremendously by adopting legislation that would enable the State to be in compliance with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement at the same time that federal legislation is being reintroduced in 2011.”

At the same time, Representative John Mizuno of the Hawaii House of Representatives introduced HB 1265, with the same objective (to adopt changes to Hawaii’s tax law to allow Hawaii to participate in Streamlined). The act “shall take effect when the state becomes a party to the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement”—again, the intent is for Hawaii to act quickly to conform to Streamlined.

As you may recall, last year the Hawaii House and Senate both approved this legislation, but it was vetoed by then-governor Lingle. Although the Senate voted to override Governor Lingle’s veto, the House did not. Hopefully Governor Abercrombie will see the wisdom and necessity of collecting sales tax that is already due in order to offset Hawaii’s $840 million fiscal deficit.