by Andrew Walden
Testimony November 16 from three Maui taxpayers was enough to discourage the outgoing Maui county council Budget and Finance Committee from advancing a proposal to raise property taxes.
According to Council committee agenda, “The purpose of the proposed bill is to lower the home exemption from $300,000 to $200,000, for tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2011.”
The result of such a move would be to sharply increase residential property tax bills. Calculated as a percentage, the tax hike would fall disproportionately on those whose homes have lower real estate values.
Cindy Sue Clark of the Maui TEA Party describes the scene:
I told them to stop spending and looking to tax us to death in this awful economy. I also stated that the jump of a 25% tax hike is way too harsh. Also that the values they were basing these rates on were higher and taken from a few years back, but now these properties have depreciated.
The council felt that there were too many variables and (Councilmember) Mike Victorino said things were too “fuzzy” to do anything about it now and since the newly elected members weren't there, they didn't want to come to any decision.
Councilmembers Gladys Baisa, Joanne Johnson, and Wayne Nishiki were also on our side. Wayne also brought up that people such as himself were hit with a rise in his condominium maintenance fees of about $70.00 more a month, and that alone adds to every day and unexpected hardships on a property owner. He also stated that maybe the rate should be decreased 50k instead of 100k.
Two others testified against the proposed property tax hike including Pamela Tumpap, Chair of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
The proposed tax hike is not dead yet, it will likely be on the Committee agenda after the new Council is sworn in. The next Budget and Finance Committee meeting has not been scheduled, but is expected to be mid-December.
RELATED: Maui Council to consider property tax hike on residential homeowners
Nov 16 Agenda and minutes: http://www.co.maui.hi.us/Archive.aspx?AMID=186
BF-73 REAL PROPERTY TAX HOME EXEMPTION: http://www.co.maui.hi.us/archives/186/101116.pdf
Maui TEA Party: http://www.mauiteaparty.com/