Bill to Lower Property Taxes to Help Seniors

John Elliott
John Elliott
Rod Tam
Rod Tam

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- As home prices in Hawaii remain high, many seniors struggling to make ends meet are pushing for some relief from property taxes.

There is a bill created on their behalf that could mean lower property taxes, not just for seniors, but for all homeowners on Oahu.

John Elliott has lived in his home for more than 30 years, and every year, he says the unpredictable, up and down nature of the housing market makes it difficult for him to budget how he's going to pay for his property tax.

"It's kind of rough for people like me who are older and on fixed incomes to be able to come up with the property tax," said Kailua resident John Elliott.

In an effort to provide some relief, Honolulu Council member Rod Tam has introduced a bill that would base property taxes on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of the market value.

"It's based in terms of speculation, in other words the market value. That's what I call the devil of our property tax," said Tam.

"As you can see, my home is not nearly in the same caliber as the homes that are up for sale but it's assessed a high value," said Elliott.

If the market value ever dips below the CPI, Tam says he's willing to adjust the bill so homeowners get the lower rate.

The bill is currently in the Budget Committee for review. One concern is the city will lose out on property tax revenue, which is used to pay for public services.

But Tam says the bill allows the Mayor and the Council to adjust rates.