Honolulu Council Considering Bill to Raise Taxes on Historic Homes

Honolulu Council Bill CB52 (2017) Proposes Increase to Minimum Annual Property Tax on Historic Homes

7/7/2017:  Honolulu City Council has scheduled a public hearing on CB52 CD1 (2017) proposing to raise the annual minimum property tax for historic residences dedicated to preservation to $1000 per year. The minimum property tax for other exemption categories would remain at the current level of $300 annually.

The Council hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 12 in Council Chambers at Honolulu Hale. The meeting begins at 10 a.m., with the public hearings scheduled after other matters.  The agenda is available in the sidebar to the right.

Under the current tax incentive program for preserving historic homes, property owners may receive a tax exemption for the portion of the property dedicated for historic preservation, subject to conditions that include the property being listed on the Hawai‘i register of historic places, retaining the historic character, providing visual access from the public way and installing a plaque about the historic significance (ROH Sec 8-10.22).

The City provides at least 24 categories for property tax exemptions to encourage and support a variety of public benefits, including historic preservation, child care centers, credit unions, slaughterhouses, industrial development, air pollution control, crop shelters, alternative energy development, public service, agriculture, kuleana lands, charitable purposes, low-income rental housing and others.

If CB 52 CD1 (2017) is approved, historic residential properties and credit unions would be subject to the higher annual minimum tax rate; other exemptions that qualify under their programs would pay the lower rate.

Written testimony should be submitted 24 hours in advance, by Tuesday, July 11.  It may be transmitted via internet at http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html for distribution at the meeting or faxed to 768-3826. Written testimonies should include the testifier’s address, e-mail address, and phone number. They may be posted by the City Clerk and available to the public on the City’s DocuShare Website.

Links & Downloads

How to Testify

Persons wishing to testify are requested to register by 9 a.m. on the day of the hearing as follows:

  1. On-Line Here
  2. By faxing to 768-3826 your name, phone number and the agenda item;
  3. By filling out the registration form in person; or
  4. By calling 768-3814 or 768-3813.

Let your voice be heard by our public officials. Submit testimony in person, online or via fax.

Mahalo for your assistance in protecting Hawaii’s heritage!

SAMPLE TESTIMONY

To: Honolulu City Council
The Honorable Ron Menor, Chair

 

From: [NAME][ADDRESS][PHONE/EMAIL]

 

City Council Meeting: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 10:00 a.m.
City Council Chamber, Honolulu Hale

RE: Council Bill 52 CD1  (2017) Minimum Real Property Tax

I am writing in opposition to CB52 CD1 (2017) Related to the Minimum Real Property Tax. The bill proposes to change the property tax exemption provided to historic residential properties by raising the annual minimum property tax for historic residences dedicated to preservation to $1000 per year.  The minimum property tax for other exemption categories would remain at the current level of $300 annually. If CB 52 CD 1 is approved, only historic residential properties and credit unions would be subject to the higher annual minimum tax rate; the other more than 20 categories of exemptions that qualify under their programs would pay the lower rate.

[ABOUT HISTORIC HOME][WHY LOWER PROPERTY TAX HELPS PRESERVE HISTORIC HOME][WHY INCREASING PROPERTY TAX WOULD AFFECT PRESERVATION]

Therefore, I urge City Council to oppose CB 52 CD1 and leave the minimum property tax for historic homes unchanged. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Sincerely,

[SIGNATURE]

What Happened

Honolulu City’s Council’s Committee on Budget has scheduled a public hearing on Council Bill 52 (2017) on Wednesday, June 28, proposing to raise the annual minimum property tax for historic residences dedicated to preservation to $1000 per year. The minimum property tax for all other exemption categories would remain at the current level of $300 annually.

What This Means

Under the current tax incentive program for preserving historic homes, property owners may receive a tax exemption for the portion of the property dedicated for historic preservation, subject to conditions that include the property being listed on the Hawai‘i register of historic places, retaining the historic character, providing visual access from the public way and installing a plaque about the historic significance (ROH Sec 8-10.22).

The City provides at least 24 categories for property tax exemptions to encourage and support a variety of public benefits, including historic preservation, child care centers, credit unions, slaughterhouses, industrial development, air pollution control, crop shelters, alternative energy development, public service, agriculture, kuleana lands, charitable purposes, low-income rental housing and others.  Click here to see the complete list of exemptions. 

If CB 52 (2017) is approved, only historic residential properties would be subject to the higher annual minimum tax rate; other exemptions that qualify under their programs would pay the lower rate.

What You Can Do

Submit written testimony or testify in person.

Written testimony should be submitted by Tuesday, June 27. Click here to submit online for distribution at the meeting or fax to 768-3827. Written testimonies should include:  the testifier’s address, e-mail address, and phone number. They may be posted by the City Clerk and available to the public on the City’s DocuShare Website.

Persons wishing to testify in person are requested to register by 9 a.m. on the day of the hearing:

Registration Options:

  1. Click here to register on-line;
  2. Fax your name, phone number and the agenda item to 768-3827;
  3. Fill out the registration form in person; or
  4. Call 768-3825.

Historic Hawaii Foundation’s Testimony:

To: Honolulu City Council Committee on Budget
The Honorable Joey Manahan, Chair

From: Kiersten Faulkner
Executive Director, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation

Committee: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
9:00 a.m.
Council Committee Meeting Room, Honolulu Hale

RE: Council Bill 52 (2017) Relating to Minimum Real Property Tax

On behalf of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation (HHF), I am writing with comments and concerns on CB52 (2017) Related to Minimum Real Property Tax. The bill proposes to change the property tax exemption provided to historic residential properties by raising the annual minimum property tax for historic residences dedicated to preservation to $1000 per year. The minimum property tax for all other exemption categories would remain at the current level of $300 annually. HHF opposes CB52 (2017) and respectfully asks that Council defer the bill.

Under the current tax incentive program for preserving historic homes, property owners may receive a tax exemption for the portion of the property dedicated for historic preservation, subject to conditions that include the property being listed on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places, retaining the historic character, providing visual access from the public way and installing a plaque about the historic significance (ROH Sec 8-10.22).

The City provides at least 24 categories for property tax exemptions to encourage and support a variety of public benefits, including historic preservation, childcare centers, credit unions, slaughterhouses, industrial development, air pollution control, crop shelters, alternative energy development, public service, agriculture, kuleana lands, charitable purposes, low-income rental housing and others.

If CB 52 is approved, only historic residential properties would be subject to the higher annual minimum tax rate; other exemptions that qualify under their programs would pay the lower rate. This is an issue of basic fairness: as long as the property owners comply with the conditions required for the property tax exemptions, they should be treated the same as other categories. An increase of over 330% to the tax rate is not justified.

The City’s real property tax reduction program offers owners of registered historic properties an economic incentive to preserve and protect these significant resources. The tax exemption allows owners to have some financial relief in the face of economic pressure to demolish, subdivide, redevelop or otherwise destroy historic properties. Economic incentives for historic preservation are vitally important, and the property tax exemption program helps to make preservation of our historic districts and buildings affordable when they may otherwise be at risk.
Therefore, HHF recommends that the City retain its existing property tax exemption for historic properties dedicated for preservation, and we respectfully request that Council defer CB 52 (2017).

2017-10-04T23:49:07+00:00 June 23rd, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog|