Bill 59: Increase property tax exemption for kupuna

The following testimony was presented Aug. 1, 2023, by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii to the Hawaii County Council Committee on Finance.

August 1, 2023
10 a.m.
Hawaii County Building

To: Committee on Finance
      Councilmember Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder, Chair
      Councilmember Cindy Evans, Vice Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
            Jonathan Helton, Policy Researcher


Comments Only

Dear Chair and Committee Members:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on Bill 59, which would create a $125,000 home exemption for owner-occupants 80 years old and older.

Currently, homeowners 80 or older can receive a $110,000 home exemption. This exemption amount applies to all homeowners 75 years old or older.

With the $110,000 exemption, an 80-year-old homeowner with a house valued at $300,000 would pay a tax bill of $1,168.50 at the current rate of $6.15 per $1,0000 of assessed value.[1] Under Bill 59, the same individual would pay a tax bill of $1,076.25 — a difference of $92.25.

Retirees on fixed incomes would certainly benefit from this tax relief. Right now, any increase in their assessments — even the allowable 3% increase under the assessment cap — can create a tax bill that eats into their small monthly incomes.

With the cost of food, transportation and electricity as high as ever, any savings for older homeowners and retirees would be a good thing.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.


Jonathan Helton
Policy Researcher
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

[1]Real Property Tax Rates for Tax Year July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024,” Real Property Assessment Division, Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, City and County of Honolulu. July 2023.

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