Little of oil tax hike would pay for clean-energy programs in Hawaii
By MARK NIESSE
HONOLULU — Most of the money raised from a planned new oil tax in Hawaii wouldn't go toward renewable energy programs as originally intended.
Lawmakers on a conference committee voted Monday to approve the tax, but they're using it more to help balance the budget than to wean the state from its dependence on fossil fuels.
The bill increases the per-barrel oil tax from 5 cents to $1.05, which would be passed on to consumers through higher gas prices and more expensive power bills. The measure would raise a total of $22 million a year.
About $13 million of that money would go toward the state budget shortfall, which is projected at $1.3 billion through June 2011.
The remaining $9 million would pay for energy and agricultural development programs.