A measure that calls for an increase in Hawaii’s general excise tax to help residents take care of elderly and sick family members cleared another committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 2478 passed Senate Human Services on a 5-2 vote.

Three senators voted “aye” and two “aye with reservations.”

Sens. Sam Slom, a Republican, and Gil Riviere, a Democrat, voted against the measure.

SB 2478 previously passed Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health.

The legislation would allow qualified taxpayers to draw on an in-home care defined benefit of $70 per day for up to 365 days.

Supporters of SB 2478 sign-wave in front of the Capitol in February 2016.

Supporters of SB 2478 sign-wave in front of the Capitol in February 2016.

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Supporters say the support is badly needed, given the rapidly growing elderly population in Hawaii.

But opponents call a 0.5 percent tax increase regressive and say it will hurt businesses and consumers.

SB 2478, sponsored by state Sen. Roz Baker, now awaits a critical hearing in Senate Ways and Means before it can move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Read Civil Beat’s related coverage:

Would You Pay More In Taxes To Take Care Of Mom?

Raising The GET: Will Hawaii Lawmakers Take A Bite Of The Forbidden Fruit?

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