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Sunday, September 28, 2003



Kauai Council approves
property assessment cap

The measure attempts to ease
property tax burdens on residents


LIHUE >> The Kauai County Council has passed a cap on real property assessments in hopes of easing the skyrocketing tax burden on residents.

The measure limits assessment increases on homes to 6 percent annually. With Kauai's booming real estate market, some residents have seen their taxes quadruple over the past three years.

Another tax relief bill, passed two weeks ago, extends the "circuit breaker" adopted last year. The "circuit breaker" provides a refund to any homeowner whose tax bill exceeds 3 percent of the gross income of all the home's occupants.

While the tax relief bills give residents $260,000 in tax relief, that amounts to just 0.6 percent of the $47 million in property taxes collected annually.

Furthermore, the county expects an increase in property tax collections of 13 percent this year and 18 percent next year because of rising home prices.

The tax relief won't be spread evenly across the board (since those with tax bills rising the fastest will get the most relief), but if it were, the $260,000 would amount to $4.33 for every resident, or $17.32 for a family of four.

Meanwhile the "circuit breaker" has provided relief to few residents.

The county paid only $62,000 to 61 people. The individual who benefited the most also lobbied for the bill the hardest: Arnold Nurock of Anini Beach, who received a $17,000 rebate.

The two bills, which apply only to homes, are considered temporary until a committee appointed by the mayor and Council finishes work on a rewrite of Kauai's property tax law, probably by the end of the year. The committee's recommendations must be accepted by the Council or the mayor.

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