This is a BAD IDEA that will hurt the counties

The new tax will negatively impact the four counties’ ability to provide basic services like police, fire, park maintenance, road repairs and garbage pickup. Currently, the counties have the exclusive authority to tax real property and it is the sole source of funding for core services. The new tax would dip into the county’s funding and make it even more difficult to balance their budgets.

All four counties oppose the proposed amendment:

  • “A surcharge on residential investment properties would obviously limit county options and make it even more difficult to balance our budgets.” – Mayor Harry Kim, Hawaii County
  • “Real property taxes are counties’ primary and largest source of revenue to fund county programs. The counties must account for raising expenses such as salary increases for all bargaining units this year, which we are obligated to fund. Raising property taxes is our only reasonable option to balance our budget. If lawmakers and the governor believe schools are underfunded, the legislature should accept the responsibility and appropriately fund education without causing financial challenges for the counties. In addition, adding the capability of the state to tax real estate can damage Maui County’s bond rating.” – Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui County
  • “This measure encroaches into the City’s only permanent taxing authority and will adversely affect the stability of our major revenue source and bond funding.” –  Steven Takara, Administrator, Real Property Assessment Division, City & County of Honolulu
  • “By amending the State Constitution for a state surcharge, this bill seeks to weaken counties’ authority on the main source of revenue to the counties, and thereby undermines the counties’ ability to fund essential services. – Ken Shimonishi, Director of Finance, County of Kauai