Hawaii lawmakers killed a bill that would have reduced the state's take of the tax designated to pay the costs of a $5.2 billion elevated rail now under construction in Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
The $21.1 million retained by the state in 2012 to pay for the state's cost of collecting Oahu's half-percent general excise tax surcharge was nearly the entire budget for the state's tax department, according to the newspaper.
The 10% retained by the state would equal nearly $370 million by the time the rail project is finished based on current cost projections. The rest helps to pay for the city's elevated rail project, which is slated to start running trains in 2017.
The state has kept more than $100 million of Oahu's GET surcharge since its collection began in 2007.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has argued the state's take is too excessive, according to the report.
"The Legislature could not have intended to pay for nearly the entire operation of its Tax Department" with that 10% administrative fee, Caldwell said in testimony before lawmakers earlier this year, according to the report.
A measure introduced by Rep. Ryan Yamane, D-Honolulu, aimed to replace that 10% with a "reasonable amount," but it failed to make it out of the House Finance Committee.
The legislative session ended Thursday.