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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:38 a.m., Thursday, May 9, 2002

State reports surge in tax revenue

Associated Press

State tax revenues rebounded last month after a nosedive in March that shook Hawai'i lawmakers putting the final touches on the state's supplemental budget.

Revenues in April totaling $320.2 million were up 5.6 percent over April of last year, compared with March's 9.2 percent decline from 2001, the Department of Taxation reported yesterday.

That bought the cumulative total of $2.61 billion collected through 10 months of the fiscal year at 1.2 percent below the same period last year.

While that's lower than the 0.7 percent drop projected by the state's Council on Revenues in March, it's a big improvement over the 2.1 percent decline showing in the cumulative total last month that prompted a warning by Budget Director Neal Miyahira that the state faced an additional $40 million revenue decline.

Leading April's revenue surge was a 7.5 percent jump in general excise and use taxes, which represent about half the total take and generally reflect business activity.

Tax Director Marie Okamura, however, said part of that increase results from having 22 working days in April 2002 compared with 20 in April 2001.

Even with the increase, the cumulative total in that category remains 0.7 percent below the same period in 2001.

A key indicator in the state's tourism market the hotel room tax revenues was down 6.6 percent in April and is down 10.2 percent though the 10 months of the fiscal year that ends June 30.

This reflects "the difficult situation of the tourist industry in the wake of the post-terrorism slowdown," Okamura said.