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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DATELINE: March 10, 2016, Honolulu, Hawai`i
CONTACT: Kelsey Meehan, (808) 591-9193, kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org

Grassroot Institute Takes Aim at Maui Agriculture Tax Hike

Watchdog group urges County Council to reject unfair scheme 

HONOLULU, HAWAII–March 10, 2016–Today, the Grassroot Institute asked the Maui County Council to reject a proposed ordinance that would drastically raise taxes on large agricultural lands and subject them to unfair regulation.

In comments on BF-70, the watchdog group pointed out that the bill, which purports to ensure fairness in real property taxation, could increase the effective tax on large agricultural lands on Maui by more than 300%. Combined with a regulatory scheme that allows the county to intrude on property rights by requiring approval of the “economic feasibility” of a farmer’s planned use for his or her land, the ultimate effect will be to further diminish the state’s agriculture industry.

“At a time when it is critical to revive and expand Hawaii’s agricultural economy, Maui is considering an ordinance that would decimate the island’s farms and ranches,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “Hawaii has lost 540,000 acres of crop and pastureland since 1980, and tax and regulatory schemes like the one envisioned here will continue to drive businesses out of existence.”

Dr. Akina continued: “The justification offered for this proposal is that it corrects an unfair tax system. However, there are less destructive ways of addressing the problem–like lowering taxes on those who are unfairly burdened. If this ordinance is passed, many farmers and ranchers on Maui will have little choice but to sell their fallow fields to real estate developers.”

Grassroot Institute’s testimony can be viewed at: http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2016/03/grassroot-testimony-bf-70-maui-ordinance-regarding-taxation-of-agricultural-land/
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelsey Meehan at (808) 591-9193 or email kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org.

About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us athttp://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
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About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.