Real Property Tax system unjust
Maui's Real Property Tax system is slow, incompetent and unjust. It requires an overhaul as soon as possible.
Here's the problem: an owner has to apply for a homeowner's tax exemption by the end of December in any year.
That application pertains to the financial year starting in July, fully six months later. Why does the department need six months for this process? Is it not yet in the computer age?
Whatever the reason, the effect on homeowners is that they are taxed at the property's current classification.
Thus, if a buyer closes a house-purchase deal in January, he is stuck with the current tax level until July of that year, when it defaults to the highest level regardless of the owner's status.
Then, when that new owner applies for the exemption at year's end, he or she will continue to pay the high rate until July of the following year because of that six-month lag. Even a year-round resident can end up paying the high rate for 18 months.
As far as we can tell, the money is never rebated. The tax board penalizes homeowners simply because they bought their property at a time inconsistent with the inflexible schedule used by the tax collectors.
This penalty can be quite high. In the case of my condo, it adds $3,000 every six months to what we should be paying as year-round residents.
Where is the justification for this?
BARRY WINFIELD, Lahaina
Thanks for providing publicity for program
We want to give Lahaina News a robust thank you for the two-part "Voices of Maui" column about our continuing efforts since the 2001-02 school year to help improve the educational opportunities for hundreds of Lahaina Complex students.
We are particularly grateful that you were able to give some additional positive publicity to an important community/school project that has served so many students so well, because of the tremendous support it has received from so many individuals and organizations in Lahaina and in Maui County.
Hopefully, with continued participation and extra effort on the part of the schools, the volunteers, the students and their parents, we can together help to remedy one of the "ironies of education" that you cited and then restore Hawaii's leadership in literacy.
It should be noted that I wrote the reading and writing core curriculum lesson plans, and Richard and two other math coordinators wrote the math core curriculum lessons.
Richard was an outstanding administrator for the Berkeley Schools. He served as a principal, assistant director of the Alternative Schools Project, director of certificated personnel and assistant to the superintendent, and served as a high school teacher for several years.
He also served as president of the Berkeley Educators Association.
Mahalo nui loa for helping to keep Lahaina and Maui "No Ka 'Oi."
PAT & RICHARD ENDSLEY
Rules apply to everyone
In regard to the letter "Motorcycle groups must obey the rules," laws are made to make a living in society possible, indiscriminate of one's color, bank-account or Harley Davidson ownership.
DR. GEORG WOODMAN
Congress kicks the can on financial crisis
Americans can breathe a sigh of relief... but not for long.
We've kicked the financial crisis can down the road for at least three more months.
Our budget deficit, debt ceiling and American leadership crisis reminds me of a game we used to play in the creek as a child.
Someone would count while we held our breath under water. It was only a matter of time. We couldn't stay under forever.
It seems like the average American is holding his or her breath today. Time is ticking, while our faces are becoming bluer by the moment.
How many more trillions of debt can we stand? Our paychecks are shrinking all the more, as we are crunched with another trillion dollars in debt. Our sigh of relief is short-lived, as our heads are actually being pushed under, much deeper and far longer than we can survive as a nation.
In response to this brutal drowning of America, we stand back shrugging our shoulders and wagging our heads. What else are we going to do?
Many of us made it to the polls to vote, and we will be back there to vote next time. We write letters, call our representatives and senators, and feel like screaming bloody murder.
What good does it do us? Our nation continues to spend what we do not have and cannot afford.
If our outgo exceeds our income, then our upkeep will be our downfall.
America needs to make a simple adjustment. We need to spend what we take in and not more than we take in.
This simple adjustment works for individuals, families, businesses and so forth.
When we spend more than we take in, we accumulate debt that makes life tougher for us. We have to pay the debt back, so this actually gives us less money to live on.
Every few months, our country is making it tougher and tougher on all Americans, because we are accumulating more and more debt, which is devouring the income we have.
Average Americans make house and car payments. However, our payments must be based on our income and what we can afford.
Our government is incurring more and more debt, and it's not based on the national income nor what our country can afford.
America will take in $2.7 to $3 trillion over the next 12 months. I would suggest to our leaders that we formulate our budget based on what we expect to receive.
In the meantime, why don't we create more income for our nation by creating more good jobs that will create more income for America?
We need to stop the flow of jobs slipping away to Mexico and other countries while our government taxes America's diminishing middle class more and more.
It's time for new leadership in America. We can't hold our breath any longer.