Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

A measure to raise taxes on luxury housing investments had plenty of support. Until it didn’t

In an effort to address the pressing issue of affordable housing in Hawaii, lawmakers have proposed a bill that would double the tax on sales of high-end residential properties. The increased revenue generated from this tax would be used to fund homeless services and affordable housing programs. However, the bill has faced opposition from developers and realtors who argue that the tax increase would deter wealthy overseas investors from buying high-end properties in Hawaii.

Advocates for affordable housing argue that the state needs long-term permanent solutions to the housing crisis, and increasing revenue through the conveyance tax is one way to achieve this. They believe that high-end properties should bear a fair share of the burden in addressing the housing crisis, especially when they are bought by wealthy overseas investors who have no intention of residing in Hawaii.

The bill, which has been opposed by the realtors association, would increase the conveyance tax on high-end residential properties from 10% to 24%. This increase would apply to properties valued at $2 million or more, with the tax on a $10 million property increasing from $250,000 to $2.4 million. Advocates argue that this additional revenue would help fund ongoing initiatives to address the housing crisis, such as the development of high-density leasehold apartments on state land near the rail.

Despite the potential benefits of the bill, it has faced challenges in the legislative process. House Finance Chair Kyle Yamashita has refused to schedule a hearing for the bill, effectively stalling its progress. Advocates are concerned that without a hearing, the bill may not move forward and the opportunity to increase funding for affordable housing and homeless services may be lost.

While the bill is just one part of a larger effort to address the housing crisis in Hawaii, advocates believe that it is a step in the right direction. They argue that more action is needed to tackle the issue, and that it will take more than just money to find a solution. Tiny homes for the homeless have been proposed as another potential solution, and there is hope that these initiatives will start gaining traction.

In conclusion, the proposed bill to increase the conveyance tax on high-end residential properties in Hawaii is seen as a way to generate additional revenue for affordable housing and homeless services. While the bill has faced opposition, advocates believe that it is an important step in addressing the housing crisis. However, the bill’s progress has been stalled, and there is concern that without a hearing, it may not move forward. Nonetheless, advocates remain optimistic that more action will be taken to find long-term permanent solutions to the housing crisis in Hawaii.

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