The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the Honolulu City and County Council on April 19, 2023.
April 19, 2023
Honolulu City Council Chambers
To: Honolulu City and County Council
Councilmember Tommy Waters, Chair
Councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns
RE: Bill 22 (2023) — RELATING TO REAL PROPERTY TAXATION
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on Bill 22 (2023), which would mandate “Truth in Taxation” hearings whenever the assessed values of a property class increase by 5% or more in a Council district.
The Institute believes Bill 22, if enacted into law, would provide greater transparency and promote accountability in Honolulu’s real property tax system.
According to the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, a land policy research group, Truth in Taxation public hearings “promote voter engagement in debate on the appropriate level for property tax rates and help elected officials gauge the electorate’s views on tax burdens and service needs.
“The resulting publicity, accountability and transparency can themselves serve to discourage marginal additional spending that might otherwise follow a ‘silent’ tax increase.”
If this Truth in Taxation measure is adopted for Oahu, the 5% figure perhaps should be increased slightly since the gross assessed property values on the island have increased annually by an average of 5.45% since fiscal year 2013. If the figure is not increased, these hearings would become an annual ritual simply because of the standard change in assessed values.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii