Controlling runaway property taxes: the Tanaka-Serikaku Tax Plan

Mr. Tanaka

The increasing cost of housing is driving up property tax bills for many local families. Mr. Tanaka, pictured here, is one of many residents who raised the issue with me: why should he, he asked, have his tax bill increased just because a nearby parcel was redeveloped or renovated? I propose that we do the following:

  1. Cap the increase in property tax assessments to match inflation and federal increases to Social Security – approximately 2% per year.
  2. Allow the city to track a higher, market-based assessment for real property tax. The difference between this value and the ~2% capped-assessment would accrue as a lien, collectable by the city if the property is sold. (This idea was proposed by Mr. Serikaku of Moanalua.)
  3. Institute higher tiers of the property tax code to properly assess the new crop of ultra-luxury units in areas such as Kakaako. Units trading at $10 million or $20 million, should not be taxed at the same rate as a $1.2 million 50-year home in Liliha or Nuuanu.