Effects of Federal Tax Cuts in Hawai‘i: Correcting the Record

Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) recently released a report, “The Impact of the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) on Hawai‘i Households,” which analyzed the effects of the new federal tax law on Hawai‘i households in 2018.  This report, which was featured in an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, concluded that the lowest-income taxpayers in Hawai‘i would see large savings from the TCJA, while those at the top would pay more.

We disagree.  At both the low and high ends of DBEDT’s analysis, crucial details of federal tax law appear to have been left out of their calculations. As a result, the report’s conclusions mask the actual impact of the new federal tax law on Hawai‘i taxpayers at different income levels.

 The TCJA is complicated and all of its provisions need to be considered in reporting the effects on households in Hawai‘i.  It is pretty clear that, when all the factors are included in the analysis, the TCJA significantly benefits the most affluent among us while doing almost nothing to help the people who need relief the most.