Hawaii advances bill requiring Internet sales tax

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm •  Published: March 4, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers are trying to level the playing field for retailers on the islands by mandating taxes on Internet sales transactions.

The state House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that would require online retailers to collect taxes and pay them to the state.

It also would make third-party referral websites like Amazon.com that connect customers with sellers to collect some taxes or face a penalty.

"It is our responsibility to adapt as times change, markets change, trends change," said Rep. Kyle Yamashita, a Democrat who represents Makawao and Wailuku. "As we know, the Internet is becoming more and more popular. And we have to figure out, how do we maintain our revenues?"

Lawmakers said the extra money could help pay for services to those that are most vulnerable. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii supported the measure.

"We have an obligation to future generations," said Rep. Rida Cabanilla, D-Ewa. "There is a huge debt in this state. We have unfunded mandates."