Posts tagged: Why You Should Vote No to the Proposed Education Tax

Robbins Real Estate Report: Why You Should Vote No to the Proposed Education Tax

By , November 8, 2018

Why You Should Vote No to the Proposed Education Tax

* Note that the Hawai’i Supreme Court struck down the constitutional amendment for the proposed education tax in Hawai’i.

While the proposed constitutional amendment to tax investment property to fund public education seems like a good idea, it will result in a larger real estate bubble and further burden the children of Hawai’i with higher housing prices and rental prices.

First, according to the State of Hawai’i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, 72.7% of privately-owned single-family homes in Hawai’i is owned by local residents, 23.3% by “mainlanders,” and 4% by foreigners.  Contrary to popular belief, according to Title Guaranty from January 2018 to June 2018 foreign buyers total 3.9% of home buyers. We should not discourage outside competition by increasing taxes nor should we single out and target Chinese buyers based on their national origin. Buyers from Japan are the top group of foreign buyers followed by Canada, Korea, then China.

Second, if passed the results of the property tax increase will benefit three main groups: 1) Local and state government, 2) Developers, and 3) Real estate professionals who profit off of inflated housing prices. Furthermore, property owners will pass the property tax increase onto renters many of whom are public school teachers.

Third, HSTA President Corey Rosenlee insists that Hawai’i’s legislators want only to tax second homes worth more than $1 million but mention of the $1 million threshold was deleted from the final bill stating in part “Funding of public education shall be determined by the legislature; provided that revenues derived from a surcharge on investment real property pursuant to section 3 of article VIII shall be used to support public education.””

Legislators do not define “investment real property.” In real estate, investment real property includes but is not limited to single-family residential homes, condominiums, hotels, commercial buildings, apartment buildings, motels, and much more. The legislators also do not mention “second homes.” It may be your home or someone’s family home that has been in the family for generations. The proposed property tax increase will also be passed onto those Kanaka Maoli who return to Hawai’i and stay in hotels to visit family. Why force them to pay more when they return to visit family?

Fourth, fellow real estate broker Choon James wrote “It’s a fallacy that every investment property owner is wealthy and thus, low-hanging fruit for taxation. Many “investors” are self-employed residents. They lead frugal lives and sacrifice in order to purchase an investment property. Their investment property is their retirement benefit. And let’s not forget, the benchmark used by Honolulu County for double tax on investment or Residential “A” is $1 million (an amount easily reached).”

Fifth, according to the National Education Association the percentage of revenue from local government for public school students in Hawai’i is 1.9% ranking Hawai’i at #51 while the percentage of revenue from state government is 86.1% ranking Hawai’i at #2.  As Randall Roth and Ben Cayetano pointed out “New tax revenues earmarked for education could easily be offset by reduced general-fund appropriations.”  They have the budget to do so.

Please do not continue to protect the profits of local and state government, developers, and real estate professionals who profit off the Hawai’i Real Estate Bubble at the expense of hard-working local families who rely on public education and at the expense of Hawai’i’s children who will face a larger real estate bubble. Please vote “No” on the ConAm to fund our public schools. The keiki of Hawai’i deserve better. Mahalo.

Lana Ululani Robbins passed the Florida, Washington, and Hawai’i real estate broker exams and owns her own real estate firm in Clearwater, Florida and Kirkland, Washington.

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