Hawaii’s new Gov. Josh Green aims to end state tax on food, medication

Newly elected Gov. Josh Green is seeking to eliminate Hawaii’s state tax on food and medication, a regressive tax that impacts poorer families more.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, Hawaii Governor, took the oath on Monday. He immediately pledged to address homelessness as well as housing and asked the Legislature to eliminate the state’s tax food and medicine.

In his inaugural address, Green stated that he wanted to eliminate regressive taxes. The general excise tax in Hawaii covers food and medication, as well as other goods.

Green, a Democrat said, “The poorest families are the hardest hit, and those who are struggling from paycheck to paycheck really cannot afford that tax,” to loud applause.


Green also pledged to promote the construction of more housing. He stated that he had “humbly suggested to the mayors” of each county that they build “Kauhale Homes,” small houses for homeless people, like the ones Green built on Oahu while he was lieutenant governor.

He stated that the state would achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals set by previous governors by approving a variety of new projects.

He said that the world will be impressed by Hawaii’s actions on climate change, homelessness and housing.

Gov. Josh Green wants to abolish regressive taxes that most affect the poorest families.

Green used the Hawaiian word for family to say that “But it will happen, only if we really come together and commit ourselves towards putting our values ohana, aloha into practice, and making them a reality”

Scott Saiki, a Democrat and House Speaker, stated that he is excited about Green’s leadership and the Lt. Governor. Sylvia Luke is a former state representative and was once part of Saiki’s leadership team.

We all know the complex challenges ahead of us. It makes a huge difference to have an administration willing to tackle these problems,” he stated after swearing in.


Saiki stated that Green’s proposal to abolish the tax on food, medication and other items was supported by the House. The House agreed with Green’s suggestion that the state reduce the tax burden for Hawaii residents, particularly those with lower resources.

Saiki stated, “We are determined to find the most effective method to achieve this,”

Luke was also sworn into office at the same ceremony. He served many years as House Finance Committee Chairperson.

Green replaced David Ige, a Democratic governor. David Ige served two terms and was characterized by numerous crises and emergencies, including volcanic eruptions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and false missile alerts.

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Green served as lieutenant governor for the last four years under Ige. He was previously a state senator, and representative.

He beat the Republican former Lieutenant Governor. He defeated Republican former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona by a large margin in the general election last month.

Green, a Pittsburgh native, was a doctor in rural Kau, on the Big Island, before he was elected to Congress. In 2000, he moved to Hawaii as part of the National Health Service Corps.

While serving as lieutenant governor and the Legislature, he continued to work part-time as a physician.

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