Wednesday | December 13, 2017
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Letters 5-25-13

Property taxes

Value should be based on what owner paid

The coverage given the county proposed fiscal budget by your paper is great. While there may not be hordes of people attending the public hearings on the subject, keep in mind that many of us return home, after a day on the job, tired, with responsibilities that still need immediate attention. The list is long and includes dinner preparation, school homework with the kids, coaching children’s sports, yard work and preparation for the next day. All of these events have daily time limitations. Kids need to be in bed by 8 p.m. or the need to get a project done before dark control our evening activities.

The question posed by Cheryl King in the May 17 WHT, as reported by Erin Miller, demands a response. The question is: Why should someone with a big house on ag land get away with paying less because they got a house on ag land?

I think Ms. King should also question why she is programmed to feel that way. Each of us fill our gas tanks with fuel but don’t expect the other guy with the bigger car to pay more for fuel. We shop for groceries and most of us will pay for what we put into the cart. Why is it that we expect the guy with the bigger piece of property to pay more for the government services we all enjoy? Why is it that we don’t expect the person who utilizes more government services to pay more?

There is inequity in the property tax structure. For one thing, we all want more open space and yet we penalize the person who has property that just sits because the conclusion is “he” can afford more. People who have property that just sits vacant should be rewarded for their environmental contribution and providing the rest of us the open space we so enjoy.

When the beach lots at Puako in Kawaihae went on sale for the first time, some local residents bought their lots for $300. Then came the influx of people from far away and the resale prices escalated. That sale affected the taxable value of the adjoining lots, which eventually forced the original owner to sell to the next willing buyer. There are a few of us left who remember the pleasures of taking our families to Puako to enjoy the beach house owned by a friend. This story has been repeated over and over throughout the island.

The transplant from far away can never comprehend the pleasures we shared as a community before the influx of bigger money altered the existing financial evolution the locals enjoyed.

There should be some consideration given to the original cost of the property owned by someone when calculating the taxable value of said property. The term “best use” in calculating property taxes will only expedite the development of our island into another Honolulu. I think that the majority of us dread the thought.

If property taxes were based on the price that the present owners paid and not on the increased value as calculated by the sale of neighbors’ property, there would be much more openness and a slower lifestyle to enjoy. Of course, there will also be less dollars for government services but the choice could be ours as it will surely affect the way we live, maybe for the better?

Leningrad Elarionoff