HONOLULU (KHON2) — Do not expect a direct cash rebate from the state this legislative session, but several bills in motion would offer tax credits, helping keep more money in your pocket. 

The Hawaii Children’s Action Network Speaks! Executive Director Deborah Zysman said they support tax credits as the change in the tax code would be permanent and not just a one-time rebate. 

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“So there’s a number of proposals. One is to increase the earned income tax credit,” Zysman said. “And that is a great credit for low and middle-income families so that you can keep you know, sort of reduce your taxes and keep more of your money.” 

House Bill 1049 is one of the bills that crossed over to the Senate this week. It looks to expand tax credits for teachers’ expenses, household renters and those caring for dependents.

Zysman said they also support a new child tax credit that is similar to the federal government during COVID. 

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii President Tom Yamachika said taxpayers should get a good understanding of the possible changes, if they pass, it will be up to them to know which credits are applicable to them.

“The good news is that there are many different ways to get relief,” Yamachika said. “The bad news is that if you don’t know them, and you don’t claim them, there’s a good chance that you’ll never be able to claim them.”

Zysman said they also support a set of bills to fund more early childhood education programs as well as worker subsidies to retain childcare workers. 

“Gives funding to the Department of Human Services to help with supplemental pay,” Zysman said. “And this has been done in several other places very successfully. So we’re modeling after that.”

About 3,100 bills were introduced this legislative session, and nearly a quarter remain alive, among them efforts to build new housing for teachers in the Mililani, Nanakuli, and Waipahu complexes. 

Meanwhile, a bill from the Governor’s package looks to increase affordable housing in Kakaako by proposing a 99-year pilot program to leasehold units. The Hawaii Community Development Authority would be tasked to lead the project. 

Yamachika said, “There’s still a lot of time in the legislative session for things to happen. Hopefully, it won’t be as dramatic as some sessions in the past when there were wholesale changes made to bills.”

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The final day of the 2023 legislative session is May 5.