Council advances general excise tax hike

Below, cruise ship passengers shop Wednesday on Alii Drive, and above, visitors check out the N.H. Greenwell Store Museum. The general excise tax is charged on almost everything, except for federal food assistance programs such as SNAP food stamps and the WIC program, prescription drugs and prosthetic devices. It’s estimated that tourists pick up 25 percent to 35 percent of the tax. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today, below, and Kona historical society courtesy photo)

Visitors check out the N.H. Greenwell Store Museum. (Kona Historical Society/Courtesy photo)

HILO — A general excise tax increase continued its forward march Wednesday, with the County Council voting 7-2 to bring the county surcharge up to one-half percent and extend it for another 10 years.