Once again the Maui County Council has shown themselves to be unclear on the concept.
The people support the reduced agricultural property tax rates as is for real, functional, full-time farms! What we object to are reduced taxes for "gentlemen farmers"-those people who have their million-dollar homes on formerly zoned ag land and, at best, sell the avocados or whatever from a couple of trees to a veggie stand and claim ag tax rates!
And no, a couple of riding horses is not agriculture either.
We also object to former farmland that lies fallow for many years, yet still receives the tax break. It should be taxed as unimproved residential/business property.
Don't make rocket science out of ag zoning, councilpersons. It's very simple. Pass an ordinance that requires individuals claiming ag property tax rates to file a copy of their Federal Income Tax Schedule F (farm income for individuals) or the corporate equivalent federal tax form once a year and demand that it reflects a real effort to make a living from agriculture.
Do what's right for real farmers-not what's "right" for your bucks-up campaign contributors!
Al Rabold Kula