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State tax collections for most months of 2021 surpassed 2019 levels

Chief state economist Eugene Tian.png
Hawaiʻi State Senate via YouTube
Hawaiʻʻi Chief State Economist Eugene Tian provides an economic overview for 2022 at an informational briefing before the Hawaiʻi State Legislature on Jan. 4, 2022.

State general excise tax collections have surpassed 2019 levels for half of 2021.

That’s according Eugene Tian, the stateʻs chief economist. He briefed state lawmakers Tuesday on 2021 performance, trends and 2022 forecasts.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported that the return of visitors, restoration of business operations and other factors have led to the recovery of tax revenues.

"The retail tax base, wholesale tax base, contracting tax base and the half-percent use tax base – they all fully recovered since March," Tian said. "So this is encouraging news, because the sales in the state is really good. In terms of the fiscal year – up to November – the GE tax increase is 39.8%. It has been increasing since June. Every month is higher than the same month in 2019."

Tian said in addition to tax revenues, unemployment claims have remained below 2,000 since October.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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