THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1118

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to general excise tax.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the cost of living in Hawaii is extremely high and too many residents are struggling to pay for housing, food, and medication. According to data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Hawaii had the highest cost of living in 2019. Coupled with the high cost of living, persistent inflation following the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has further exacerbated the problem of residents being unable to afford necessities like groceries. The legislature further finds that thirty-two states, plus the District of Columbia, currently exempt most foods purchased for consumption at home from the state sales tax. Grocery sales tax is often considered regressive and disproportionately hurts working families and may affect the quality, diversity, and even the amount of food they can afford to put on the table, especially during times of economic crisis.

The legislature also finds that the COVID-19 pandemic led to approximately two hundred fifty thousand workers in Hawaii losing their jobs, leaving all those families to suffer financially. Exempting groceries and nonprescription drugs from the general excise tax will help many families and allow them to put food on the table and maintain the health of their families. In addition, workers and their families who may save money on groceries and nonprescription drug purchases will be able to spend that money elsewhere in the economy, thus allowing the money to continue to circulate, which will help many businesses and continue to generate revenue for the State.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Reduce the general excise tax for the sale of groceries that are eligible under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children over a four-year period; and

(2) Reduce the general excise tax for the sale of nonprescription drugs, medical supplies, and durable medical equipment over a four-year period.

SECTION 2. Chapter 237, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"237-   Applicable tax for eligible groceries. (a) Taxes imposed under section 237-13 on the retail sale of groceries eligible for purchase under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children within the State, regardless of the means of purchase and the eligibility of the purchaser for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children benefits, shall be as follows:

(1) Beginning on January 1, 2024, the tax shall be three per cent;

(2) Beginning on January 1, 2025, the tax shall be two per cent;

(3) Beginning on January 1, 2026, the tax shall be one per cent; and

(4) Beginning on January 1, 2027, there shall be no tax imposed.

(b) As used in this section:

"Food" or "food product" means substances, whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form, that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value.

"Groceries" means any food or food product for home consumption. The term "groceries" may be further defined by the department by rule through the enumeration of items in rules or tax informational releases; provided that the department shall consult with the federal Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in further defining the term "groceries" for purposes of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

237-   Applicable tax for nonprescription drugs, medical supplies, and durable medical equipment. (a) Taxes imposed on the retail sale of nonprescription drugs, medical supplies, and durable medical equipment under section 237-13 shall be as follows:

(1) Beginning on January 1, 2024, the tax shall be three per cent;

(2) Beginning on January 1, 2025, the tax shall be two per cent;

(3) Beginning on January 1, 2026, the tax shall be one per cent; and

(4) Beginning on January 1, 2027, there shall be no tax imposed.

(b) As used in this section:

"Drug" shall have the same meaning as in section 329-1.

"Durable medical equipment" shall have the same meaning as in section 321-542.

"Nonprescription drug" shall have the same meaning as in section 328-1."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

General Excise Tax; SNAP; Nonprescription Drugs; Medical Supplies; Durable Medical Equipment; Reduction

 

Description:

Reduces and eliminates the general excise tax for the sale of groceries that are eligible under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children over a four-year period. Reduces and eliminates the general excise tax for the sale of nonprescription drugs, medical supplies, and durable medical equipment over a four-year period.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.