The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii called on Governor David Ige to delay or suspend upcoming General Excise and other tax and fee collection for businesses impacted by COVID-19. This measure is one of several that the Chamber is proposing to provide relief to local businesses.

In a letter today, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President & CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara emphasized the hardship that Hawaii businesses are facing due to loss in income caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Without further intervention, many businesses indicated that they could not survive through the month of April.

“We have heard from our members across the state that they are on the brink of completely shutting down. Many fear permanent closure in days or weeks because they won’t be able to pay their April bills,” Sherry Menor-McNamara, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii wrote. “While local businesses are willing to do their part for the greater good of the community, their debts and obligations remain regardless of operational status.”

“In a recent survey of our members, respondents indicated that the measure that would be the most useful to them at this time would be the suspension of General Excise Tax and other state taxes while the pandemic is still ongoing,” Menor-McNamara continued. “While this may not be sufficient to save all businesses, it will mitigate the significant impact.”

Click here to read the full letter.

This letter follows up on a March 20 letter from the Chamber to Governor Ige urging several actions including expedited expansion of testing and testing sites, limited rent and mortgage relief by government, loan forgiveness programs and pausing any government debt payments.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii launched a dedicated site for the business community to receive COVID-19 updates at covid19.cochawaii.org.