Mayor proposes new homeowners classification

Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Todd Apo
Todd Apo

By Sean Ibara

HONOLULU (KHNL) - With home and property values on the decline, the Mayor is trying to alleviate the tax burden on Oahu homeowners, and at the same time balancing the City's budget.

So Hannemann is proposing to target rentors and those with multiple homes.

With the new property tax rate now set at $3.42 cents per a thousand dollars of assessed value, the Mayor says the resolution which was adopted by the City Council forces a steeper budget deficit than before, adding 23-million dollars to an already 147-million shortfall.

"What I'm proposing today is a possible scenario that we can work together. It's obviously worked on the neighbor islands", said Hannemann.

His proposal would create a separate homeowner classification for homeowners and non-owner/occupant residences. The move would essentially force those who rent out rooms and those with second homes to theoretically pay more in property taxes.

And at least one council member says it would discourage those who are in the business of renting out rooms.

"It definitely discourages but again it's not a lot different. There's nothing wrong with the Mayor's proposal, but we can get to the same result without creating this inequity that becomes too easy to tax non-residents", said Council Chair Todd Apo.

But the mayor insists it is a step in the right direction.

Hannemann said "having a homeowners property classification will go a long way towards our balancing our effort to be responsive in meeting public demands."

The Mayor Friday also said he will allow the budget passed by the City Council for the upcoming fiscal year to become law without his signature.