Monday, December 09, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, September 16, 2018
Historic Homes--$2M Tax Exemption Gift to 342 Households
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 1968 Views :: Honolulu County, Taxes

Historic Homes in Honolulu County

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

One of the more unique property tax exemptions in the City & County of Honolulu is the exemption for “Historic Residential Real Property Dedicated for Preservation.” Under the exemption ordinance, owners of historic homes can save thousands of dollars in real property taxes every year if they put up a certain plaque, allow viewing of the home, and meet other requirements. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the City is giving the exemption to 342 homes and forgoing taxation on $600 million in property value, translating to a revenue loss exceeding $2 million.

Eight years ago, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser fretted that our city “is giving major property-tax breaks to nearly 250 owners of historic homes – forgoing nearly $1 million in annual revenue – without adequately enforcing key requirements of the exemption program.” At the time, the newspaper found examples of homes with no plaque, with views of the historic home blocked or obscured by vegetation, or at the end of a driveway with a “No Trespassing” sign.

Five years later, the City Auditor issued its Report No. 13-02, finding at that time that the City could collect over $555,000 in property taxes from historic properties that didn’t comply with the exemption requirements. The City Auditor found that several properties had no plaque, had view obstructions, or were being used for commercial purposes or illegally. The Auditor observed that the exemption ordinance allowed the City to cite the owner, and if the noncompliance were not corrected to cancel the exemption retroactively. The Auditor made several recommendations to address the perceived lack of enforcement.

The City’s Real Property Assessment Division (RPAD), however, refused to acknowledge that any problems existed. It pooh-poohed one of the recommendations, for example, by saying, “RPAD has no authority under the ordinance to cancel any dedications based on use.” So, a homeowner could disregard the exemption requirements and get away with it scot-free? It would be shocking if the lawmakers who penned the ordinance agreed with that interpretation.

“After a thorough review of the report,” the department director continued, “we conclude that the recommendations will not lead to any material improvements … and many of the deficiencies cited by the auditor are not based in fact.” And that’s not even the nastiest part of the response letter.

Sadly, the head-butting between the City Auditor and the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services doesn’t end there. The Auditor is required by the City Charter section 3-502(1)(d) to follow up and monitor compliance with audit recommendations. In its Audit Recommendations Status Report, No. 18-03, the Auditor lists all 17 of the recommendations it made to RPAD in Report No. 13-02 (including all of the suggestions it made regarding the historic homes exemption) as “N” for Not Started, as of April 2018.

Now, come on. If we intend to be serious about improving our government, which is the objective of having an independent city auditor examine agencies and make recommendations, then we cannot tolerate agencies thumbing their noses at the auditor. It is critical not to waste resources that are available, and to ensure that we aren’t encouraging scofflaws (or opportunists) to game the system. At a minimum, our finance agencies need to be beyond reproach. They need to give us, the taxpayers, a coherent explanation of how they are addressing the auditor’s recommendations, why they can’t, or why the auditor is mistaken. Unvarnished disrespect shows that our government is dysfunctional and needs to be fixed. Perhaps Mayor Caldwell needs to take a few people out to the woodshed….

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT