Tax Proposal Could Hurt Local Businesses

Justine Jones, manager of Just Bead It! in Kaimuki.
Justine Jones, manager of Just Bead It! in Kaimuki.

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - Before Bead It! in Kaimuki turns a profit, it needs to sell a lot of jewelry supplies just to cover its expenses.

"Employees to pay, bead trips to take to buy all the merchandise, overhead, electric, things that break, losses," said store manager Justine Jones.

So an increase in commercial property taxes is the last thing the store needs.

"That definitely would affect us a lot," Jones said. "Given that we just opened our third location and how competitive businesses are in general that would affect us greatly."

The Honolulu City Council is considering a proposal calling for increasing commercial property taxes by 60 cents per $1000 of assessed value.

Some small businesses say that could result in higher rents and lower profits.

"It's already high enough as it is and to an increase just to balance out the home property, I don't think that's a really fair balance," Jones said.

With property values sky-rocketing, the City Council estimates residential taxpayers are currently responsible for nearly two-thirds of the city's tax collections. In 1999, they accounted for slightly less than half of the city's tax revenue.

"Of course anytime you have to pay, it bothers you a little bit," said Kaimuki resident Tom Peterman. "I don't know if the property taxes are really out of control compared to the cost or the value of the home."