Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said on Monday that he wants to invest $1 billion in affordable housing and give tax breaks to people of all income levels to lower the cost of living in the state.
He told lawmakers in his first State of the State address that tax breaks would give money to working families.
The governor said every family of four could expect to receive $2,000 in tax relief under that plan – and that lower-income residents could expect more.
According to Green, that initiative would help prevent residents from leaving the islands in search of less costly locations.
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“This plan makes sure every income bracket does a little better and directly lowers the cost of living for every single resident by keeping more money in our pockets for each taxpayer, especially those who are wrestling with survival,” he said.
In addition, the proposal includes doubling the standard tax deduction and providing tax credits to families paying for childcare, babysitters, after-school care and adult day care.
Green estimated that the plan would lower state revenue by $312.7 million annually. The $1 billion for housing would include funding to boost financing for more affordable housing units through the Housing Finance and Development Corporation and provide state rental subsidies to low-income families. Furthermore, some of the money would be used toward renovating and upgrading public housing.
“If we cut some of the costs on early education or adult daycare and we put some tax dollars back into people’s pockets, then they can stay in Hawaii,” Green later told reporters.
State law requires that the governor and policymakers draft their budgets based on the state Council on Revenues forecasts, which are expected to be updated in March.
Hawaii began the year with a $1.9 billion surplus thanks to the tourism industry.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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