Lingle pitches tax relief for storm damage

Gov. Linda Lingle this week announced plans via a press release to provide tax relief for families and businesses who have sustained damage from recent rains throughout the state of Hawai’i.

Lingle has instructed Kurt Kawafuchi, director of the Department of Taxation, to propose amendments at a hearing today to House Bill 1448 to extend tax credits statewide to residents and businesses affected by the storms.

Currently, the bill provides up to $10,000 in tax credits for residents whose homes have sustained damage from the October 2004 flood in Manoa.

The bill was recently amended to include residential properties located on the windward side of O’ahu.

The Tax Department estimates the costs for extending these credits statewide would be approximately $9.5 million over the next three years.

“Having personally visited the flood-impacted areas and having seen the devastation, it is clear that any legislation providing flood victims with relief must be available in a fair and comprehensive fashion,” said Lingle.

“It is not just Manoa and Windward O’ahu that have suffered losses from floods and mudslides. We should extend tax credits to all those who have lost property or suffered property damage statewide.” Over the weekend Lingle was joined by state Adjutant General Robert Lee and Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira in inspecting flood and landslide damage on O’ahu caused by nearly six weeks of heavy rains.

Prior to that, the Governor surveyed damage on Kaua’i caused by the Ka Loko dam breach and flood waters on that island.

Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. also led an aerial inspection of the North Shore and Windward side of O’ahu.

House Bill1448 will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee today at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 211.

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