Meeting will address ways to curb rising property taxes
The Honolulu City Council will have a special meeting Jan. 26 to consider proposals to address Oahu's soaring property taxes.
The latest proposal, from Councilman Charles Djou, would cap property tax increases to no more than 10 percent a year. In the past three years, property assessments, on which property taxes are based, increased 17 percent, 26 percent and 26 percent.
And Djou said this comes as other city fees and taxes are increasing.
"I think enough is enough. Time has come that the government has got to begin living within its means. We cannot continue to tax people over and over and over again," he said.
But Djou's proposal has not been received well by Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other Council members who are offering their own property tax reduction measures.
"If you're going to cap the property tax rate, that means we have to curtail spending and curtail services," Hannemann said. "And I'd like Councilman Djou and others to be very specific on what programs should we now cut back on."
Hannemann said his administration has been cutting spending since he took office but there are fixed costs it cannot cut.
And Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said an across-the-board cap on property taxes would benefit investors who are responsible for Oahu's escalating property values.
"And that will mean less relief for our local families," Dela Cruz said. "We really need to target relief for our local families and our middle-income families and those on fixed incomes."
Council Budget Committee Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi said: "Investors should pay. They're driving the cost of housing up."
Dela Cruz and Kobayashi have introduced three measures to provide property tax cuts to Oahu residents. Two are based on income and the third would limit increases for owner-occupants to the amount of the consumer price index.
Hannemann wants to give home owners a one-time $40 million rebate and create a lower tax rate for owner-occupants.