04/22/2021

New Taxes, Tourism Funding Cuts Among Bills Pushed Through As Legislature Winds Down

April 22, 2021 - Lawmakers advanced measures to get more electric cars in the state.

House Bill 1142 would set aside 3 cents from the tax on each barrel of oil that comes into the state to help fund a state rebate program created in 2019 for EV charging stations. The program was previously funded but has run out of money.

Rep. Nicole Lowen, the chairwoman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, said using the barrel tax is a sustainable source of funding for the rebate program. However, she said it could be hard to estimate how much money the rebate program might accrue each year since the number of barrels of fuel coming into the state can vary.

Lawmakers have set aside $100,000 for the program for the next fiscal year, according to Lowen. House and Senate negotiators also added language from other bills that would require owners of parking lots with more than 100 stalls to have and maintain at least one EV charging station.

Lowen says she is interested in expanding the rebates to further incentivize construction of more charging stations.

“Like rental car companies or having hotels and resorts install them,” Lowen said. “Their guests may want to choose to rent an electric vehicle, but don’t because there’s no charging at the hotel.”

House Bill 552, another bill from Lowen that cleared conference committee on Thursday, would end the purchase of gas powered light-duty vehicles by the state, and require any new purchase to be an EV.

Lawmakers considered creating a task force that would create a plan for Hawaii’s rental car fleet to go 100% electric by 2035, but the House and Senate weren’t able to sort out their differences on the measure.

Rep. Henry Aquino and Sen. Chris Lee, chairmen of their chambers’ transportation committees, decided to shelve the bill for this session.

READ FULL ARTICLE: https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/04/new-taxes-tourism-funding-cuts-among-bills-pushed-through-as-legislature-winds-down/