POSTED: 26 AUGUST 2008 - 8:00am

Kauai property tax issue

image above: William Holland 1814 property tax catroon of John Bull and the Property Tax demon

by Glenn Mickens on 24 August 2008 as Ohana Kauai Treasurer

We are again facing a condition that would have been resolved if the Ohana Kauai charter amendment adopted in 2004 had been given effect.

The Kauai County Council now has before it a bill authored by a group of county finance department personnel that is presented as being improvements in our real property tax. The bill does include some worthwhile ideas, but it is fatally flawed by its proposed repeal of the 2% annual cap on taxes for resident homeowner properties.

This cap was adopted by the council in 2005 after the Ohana measure which contained an identical provision received the favorable vote of nearly two thirds of Kauai’s voters. But now the council is considering ending the tax limit that has protected our people for four years.

What is at stake is that council members want to have absolute power to set taxes without any limitations. If Bill 2274 is adopted in its present form your taxes could soar.

In 2004 when voters acted on the Ohana amendment total assessments of homestead class properties (which include the bulk of resident owned and occupied homes) were $1.385 billion. But in 2007 these assessments had risen to $4.82 billion, or a 239% increase. The 2% cap protected homeowners against this sharp rise, but if the cap is removed it seems probable that the council will use the new assessed values to fill its coffers.

We are asking that owners register their opposition to Bill 2274’s provision for the repeal of the cap by calling or writing to Kauai County council members before their next scheduled meeting on the bill – September 3, 2008.( Address is 4396 Rice Street, Lihue, HI 96766 phone is 241-6371) Also so that we may know of your views, please submit your vote at the web site on the Bill 2274 topic.

We thank you for your help in safeguarding the interests of Kauai’s resident owners against this new peril.