SALT Report 2375 – The Hawaii House of Representatives adopted a resolution asking the Department of Taxation to assemble a working group to evaluate the feasibility of imposing sales tax on non-essential food items.
Non-essential food items will include foods purchased from restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines, as well as discretionary food products sold in grocery stores. However, the state will continue to exempt purchases of essential food items, such as meat, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits, from the sales tax.
In 2011, 8 million people visited Hawaii and spent $2.5 billion on food and beverages. Therefore, imposing sales tax, which is imposed at a higher rate than the general excise tax, on all non-essential food items has the potential to generate millions of dollars in additional revenue.
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