We all know raising a family and making a living in Hawaii is expensive. Honolulu has some of the highest costs of living in the country, right next to places like New York and San Francisco.

And living outside Honolulu doesn’t get much better. If you live in rural Oahu or the neighbor islands, housing is still expensive relative to average salaries, and we all know how expensive gas and groceries can be when it has to be shipped all the way across the ocean.

The House Republican Caucus has been hard at work to bring you real solutions that will help make Hawaii more affordable. This legislative session, the Republican caucus is introducing a bill to make raising a family in Hawaii just a little bit easier. Our bill to “stop taxing life” would exempt all food from the general excise tax.

The Hawaii Legislature will be asked to consider a GOP bill to help low-income tax payers.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

To illustrate how much you would save, let’s say you have a family of four with a household income of $60,000. That’s $5,000 a month before taxes.

First, let’s remove all the taxes you have to pay. If we take off federal income tax, Social Security and Medicaid taxes, and state income taxes, you now have about $3,000 a month.

Next, let’s take off about $2,500 for rent for a two-bedroom apartment. You’re left with about $1,500 a month.

That’s $375 a week for life’s other necessities: food, health expenses, car payments, gas and school supplies. Making ends meet can be very difficult for families in Hawaii. And I should know: My wife and I have eight kids

It’s Your Money

Making life more affordable for you and your family is the goal of the Hawaii Republican Caucus. It doesn’t make sense that you should pay hundreds of dollars in taxes just for the things you need to survive. It’ll be a major help for families across Hawaii to be able to buy food tax-free.

Let’s put your tax-free food savings into perspective. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average family of four in Hawaii who buys food on a “thrifty” plan spends about $14,000 a year on food.

Imagine what it would mean to your family if you had an extra $650 a year.

Just in taxes alone, a family of four will spend about $650 a year. And that’s on the low end! Most families are going to spend more than the USDA’s “thrifty” estimation.

Imagine what it would mean to your family if you had an extra $650 a year.

That’s a plane ticket or a night at a hotel for a family vacation. That’s two months of car payments, new back-to-school clothes, or a couple months paying off credit cards or school debt. Or you could use that extra money to invest in your retirement or children’s college fund.

Regardless of how your family decides to use that extra money, it’s your money, and you know how to spend it best.

We can only make tax-free food a reality with your help. Join us this legislative session by writing and calling your legislators to support this bill. Tell your legislators that you support exempting food from the GET. Tell them that you want them to “stop taxing life.”

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