With all the media coverage surrounding the dramatic hike in Oahu’s property tax rates, with the taxes for most landowners either doubling or tripling from the previous year, there are now several proposals being put forward by lawmakers for property tax relief.

Some council members on the Honolulu City Council have asked for increased exemptions or are considering limiting property taxes for those with incomes under $75,000 to 4 percent of their income. Because of the public outcry, Oahu’s mayor Mufi Hannemann has offered to cut $40 million of the $120 million he expected to collect in increased tax revenue.

Instead, I am asking the City Council for the same exemption that a segment of our county has all ready been receiving for almost 20 years. I want the Hawaiian Homestead exemption.

For those living on Hawaiian Homesteads, their property tax is simple — $100 per year per home. The homesteads, in turn, are provided the same city services such as garbage collection, police and fire protection, parks, roads, etc. received by all.

With my recent tax notice, I have to now pay $1,255 per year — an increase of $300 from 2005 and more than double the total 2003 tax.

Since my home is leasehold too, the land value should be the same as theirs (except my lease rent is $125 a month and Homesteaders pay $1 a year).

The property assessment offers 4 grounds for appeal the last being
“Illegality, on any ground arising under the Constitution.” That’s the one I plan to use to appeal.

All citizens are afforded equal protection of laws under the U.S. and
State Constitutions. Therefore, the property tax law must be applied to all homeowners at the same level given to the Hawaiian homesteaders. I have my $100 ready to send in. How about you?

”’Shayne Keith is a resident of Ewa Beach.”’

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