Friday, September 27, 2002

Kauai County

Garden Isle considers
freezing property tax

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> A bill that would freeze property tax valuations for all owner-occupied residences on Kauai at 2001 levels was introduced yesterday by County Council Chairman Ron Kouchi.

The bill is set for an Oct. 10 public hearing. Kouchi said he would like to see it passed by the end of the year so that it would be in effect for the 2003 tax year.

The measure appears to have broad support from Council members, including Bryan Baptiste, who is running against Kouchi for mayor.

The proposed freeze is a reflection of Kauai's skyrocketing real estate market.

Because property valuations are based on the sales price of similar homes in the same area, the valuations of most homeowners have zoomed upward since the current boom began in 1999. The valuations are multiplied by the tax rate to get the amount of taxes owners have to pay.

In some cases, homeowner's property valuations have increased as much as 600 percent because of the high sales prices of neighboring homes. In spite of two tax rate cuts in the past two years and an increase in the deduction for owner-occupied residences, most Kauai homeowners have seen their tax bills rise.

The reason is that the valuation increases have outstripped the tax rate decreases.

Councilman Gary Hooser, running as a candidate for state Senate, called the bill "a major, major, major step in the right direction."

No computer studies on the possible impact on county tax revenues have been done. Supporters such as Ray Chuan, a Council candidate, said the increase in construction of new luxury homes that will be added to the tax base probably would more than offset the effects of the freeze.

County of Kauai

E-mail to City Desk


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