Letters for July 28, 2014

• Fresh faces and ideas needed this election • Candidates need to pledge to real property tax cap

 

Fresh faces and ideas needed this election

In the grocery store I heard a lady loudly chanting, “No incumbents.”

She is right, of course. Everyone has been hosed by the Kauai County Council and the mayor. Our property tax bill increased 34 percent (not a typo), and I’m told that I’m lucky and that many have received much, much higher property tax increases. The totally unreasonable tax increase will affect everyone in many ways. Renters will see rent increases almost immediately as the owners pass on the tax increase. People like me will have to cut back on life’s niceties or sell because we are mostly on fixed income. Others will just have to cut back, which will have an adverse effect on our economy. Property values will likely drop because new buyers won’t be interested in an unbridled tax policy. 

The council has promised a pay increase to county workers in an effort to buy votes. County workers already enjoy benefits much better than those working in Kauai’s private sector. The councilmembers have also promised themselves a pay increase next year (after the election). The mayor needs more money to take care of his friends. Perhaps this is an effort to offset the outrageous tax increases to county workers who own or rent property, and to buy votes for themselves. County workers who own property certainly will see through this clever bait and switch … I hope.

By deleting portions of the old tax code (2 percent increase cap – higher than California’s 1 percent), the council has declared war on their constituency. None of them deserve to hold their positions with the responsibility for managing our hard earned after-tax dollars. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to remove all of them this election. I agree with the lady in the grocery store. Don’t vote for any incumbent, but please, please vote. The argument against this plea is that new councilmembers won’t be experienced enough. My argument is that the current council and mayor are too experienced and new blood can’t do worse.

Allan Leonard 

Princeville

 

Candidates need to pledge to real property tax cap

The candidates running for County Council need to pledge to return the real property tax cap. The August election is upon us and I, for one, do not want to vote for anyone who doesn’t support the return to a real property tax cap.

Last September, the County Council voted to remove the 2 percent real estate cap for homeowners on Kauai. Many of our friends and relatives are being taxed out of their homes. This was done because some of the council bought into the idea that the cap was unfair. Was it really unfair?

Is it fair that a homeowner cannot predict what his tax bill will be?

Is it fair that someone buys a home in your neighborhood at a substantial price and all of a sudden your home is viewed as being valued at twice as much and should be taxed at that rate although you haven’t even changed the flowers in your yard? Really?

A reasonable suggestion continues to be to adjust the rate of property tax based on the price someone actually pays for the home, and then cap that at 2 percent. Each time the property is sold, the tax rate would be adjusted accordingly with the sale price, either up or down. The buyer would know what to expect until he then sells the property.

Resident homeowner property taxes account for approximately 9 percent of the taxes accumulated by the County of Kauai. Placing a cap for this category will not hurt the county and will not result in any substantial decrease in revenue. Since 2004, the county has more than doubled its budget. Is spending out of control? 

The County Council took away the cap and, unfortunately, the only recourse for voters is to encourage common sense and fairness at the polls. A statement from each candidate regarding his/her position on this topic is necessary prior to the upcoming election.

Bill Steed

Kilauea

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