Lawmaker says Hawaii tax revenue down 1/3 in April

HONOLULU — Hawaii tax revenue sank 33% in April compared to the same month a year earlier as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic spread, the chairman of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee said Monday.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz told reporters during a video news conference that the state reported $540 million in general fund tax revenue last month. That compares to $810 million in April 2019.

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Revenues reported in April reflect taxes collected in March, which is when tourism to Hawaii began to drop precipitously amid measures to slow the virus. On March 26, the state began requiring that travelers to Hawaii observe 14 days of quarantine.

“You can see that’s a big difference already. We’re expecting the May report to be even lower,” Dela Cruz said.

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Dela Cruz said as long as tourism stays low and the state maintains its traveler quarantine, Hawaii will need to depend on the federal government for assistance, look to special funds and consider budget cuts.

Asked whether pay cuts for state workers were on the table, Dela Cruz said, “It just depends. If tourism rebounds much faster because they can get a hold of the situation and the public feels safe, then probably not.”

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