INNOVATIVE COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN MOVING THROUGH HOUSE
A bill to create a tax-deductible college savings program for Hawaii residents will be heard by the House Finance Committee on Friday, Feb. 26, in Room 308 at the State Capitol, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Rep. K. Mark Takai (D - Waimalu, Waiau, Newtown), Vice Chair, House Committee on Higher Education and author of the bill, is encouraging fellow House members to recognize the bill's long-term benefits for Hawaii's economy.
"We like to say that education is our number one priority. The adoption of House Bill 307, as amended, would encourage greater savings for college by providing immediate state and federal tax incentives. But the most important benefit is the investment we will be making in human capital to ensure Hawaii's future economic prosperity," Takai said.
HB307 offers a number of immediate benefits for participants, including:
The program received broad support from students, high school career counselors and others during public hearings before the House Higher Education Committee earlier this month.
Tuition costs nationally are projected to increase in the coming years, dramatically in some cases. Currently, 71 percent of students nationwide receive some sort of financial aid for college. According to various sources, the biggest participation in college savings programs are from middle-income families.
"Currently, residents of 35 states benefit because their states had the foresight to implement some type of college savings program. Hawaii is one of seven states still considering it," Takai said. He added that any state may offer its program in any other state except that state and local tax benefits may not cross state lines. Federal tax benefits would apply, however, said Takai.
"We recognize that HB307 will have an impact on the state's current finances. However, I am confident that the bill can be further amended to reflect those concerns and still be practicable, " Takai said.