Letters for Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Property tax cap •

Silent no more

Property tax cap

Since 2004 the yearly amount that the property tax on owner-occupied property could increase was limited by a fixed 2 percent cap.

This was enacted by the Kaua‘i County Council in response to citizen outrage at our ever increasing property taxes as property values escalated in the first few years of the new century.  

This 2 percent cap has been quietly eliminated by the county.

According to a letter from the county just received with the 2012 property assessment, the 2 percent cap has been replaced with the Consumer Price Index-Urban Honolulu (CPI-U).

The Honolulu CPI-U rose by 4 percent from 2010 to 2011. This means that Kauai homeowner property taxes may increase twice the amount that they would increase under the fixed 2 percent cap.

If the Honolulu CPI-U were to increase in the future by, say, 6 percent, then homeowner property taxes could increase by three times the amount they would have increased under the fixed 2 percent cap, and so on.

It would seem that a 6 percent or even greater increase in the Honolulu CPI-U in the next several years is very possible.

This is because the economy is still very near its recent bottom and, as it improves, prices are bound to increase.

Furthermore, many economists are predicting that we will likely see increasing inflation in the next several years.

This will undoubtedly also contribute to the increase in the CPI-U and thus even faster escalation of Kaua‘i homeowner property taxes.

This change in itself is very detrimental to Kaua‘i resident homeowners.

However, consider that last year’s county $160 million dollar budget had a $60 million dollar surplus, as Walter Lewis pointed out in his Feb. 18 The Garden Island column.

Also  consider, as Walter pointed out, that taxes for other classes of taxpayers have gone down by over $20 million, while taxes for resident homeowners have risen about $5 million.

We have to ask ourselves whether the mayor and the council really care about Kaua‘i’s resident homeowners, or do they care more about having a large surplus for expanding county government.

Peter Nilsen, Princeville

Silent no more

As a concerned parent of a special needs child, the controversy over the installation of smart meters — and the associated health consequences that it entails — has placed me in a most uncomfortable position.

My son Brennan was born with Down syndrome, and I am both his voice and advocate.

 I take that responsibility seriously, in every aspect of the word.

When KIUC announced the rollout of smart meters here on Kaua‘i, I knew that this would impact both the health of my son and family.

As an IT professional and expert in data research and corollary extrapolation, I have researched smart meters extensively.

My findings confirmed that, indeed, smart meters are a hazard to one’s health in many ways. Both the pamphlet and full page ad response published by KIUC is both misleading and inaccurate.

It is hard to believe in this age of information, with almost unlimited access via the Internet, that there could be any doubt about the adverse health effects being perpetuated upon Kaua‘i’s citizens.

Of all the discrepancies that KIUC have fostered upon the public, it is their false assurance of safety that is most disconcerting.

Both my wife and I watched and waited for someone or some agency to put a stop to this madness. The silence was deafening, from our Kaua‘i County Council members, mayor and Hawai‘i Health Department.

The people of Kaua‘i were being led by the half-truths and false statements of KIUC in their rush to increase their revenues

I could remain silent no longer, and with the blessing of my family, I set out to confront the arrogance and greed of the KIUC officials and its puppet board.

 I have raised my flag of freedom from oppression, for that is what our co-op has become. Of the seven Cooperative Principles, KIUC has broken five of them upon the alter of increasing revenues.

I did not choose this. I had hoped that with the mountain of available medical studies and testimony, the people that oversee the health and welfare of the public would step in to protect us from corporate greed.

And now this nightmare has come home to roost here on Kaua‘i.

This is the uncomfortable position that KIUC has placed me in. In order to protect the health of my son and family, to protect their future, I am now positioned as David versus the Goliath that is KIUC.

I speak for Brennan and all others whose voice KIUC has refused to hear.

I will hold KIUC to their charter, and the highest standards of conduct and honesty.

The time to remain silent has passed, and I will remain silent no longer. For Brennan’s sake, I am tasked as David to confront the Goliath that KIUC has become.

 

Mark Naea, Kapa‘a

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