According to The Maui News, our County Council is frustrated that their agricultural property tax bill is once again being deferred. What don't they get? Their ill-conceived proposal will accomplish only two things. First, it will drive up the cost of locally grown food for every person in Maui County. Second, it will continue to give preferential tax treatment, albeit reduced by the amount of land occupied by their mansions, to the millionaire gentlemen farmers. Why does the council want to protect these people?
The real farmers need every tax break they can get to remain profitable and to reduce Maui's dependence on imported food! The gentlemen farmers do not! The current law and rates are fine as they stand. The problem lies with the lack of physical, as they say, "boots on the ground" assessment of the properties.
Now one of our council members has told me it is impossible for the tax assessors to actually go out and assess. Weird! That's what they're supposed to do!
So, perhaps the real farmers should be required to submit their Federal Income Tax Schedule F, Profit or Loss from Farming forms every year to prove they are actually farmers. Then, any property tax record that does not have a current Schedule F on record must therefore be residential and the property tax should be adjusted to "residential." Easily verified! Foolproof! Probably produce more than the currently projected $950,000 tax increase! And, maybe even encourage a little growth in our farming industry!