The role Realtors play in the legislative process
Maui Realtors are members at three separate and complimentary levels: Realtors Association of Maui or RAM, Hawaii Association of Realtors (HAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
One of the main functions of HAR is to monitor bills which are brought forth during the legislative session. The following is from John Harris, HAR president, reporting on this year’s legislative session.
The legislative session is at halftime. Much like football, anything can happen during the second half. This year, HAR introduced legislation to increase the amount of the handyman exemption from $1,000, which is long overdue since it was last raised in 1992.
During the annual REALTOR Legislative Day, Realtors shared the challenges of homeownership in Hawai’i with our elected Representatives. These challenges range from the difficulty in saving for a down payment, to expenses that delay savings for a home purchase, such as student loan debt. Another Realtor priority is to look closely at efforts to solve our housing crisis and encourage the dream of homeownership for our residents.
Some proposed bills can have real negative consequences that affect our ability to practice real estate, or add to the high cost of living and housing in Hawaii. The goal of HAR is simple: to intercept the bad bills and drive the good ones to the Governor’s desk for signature.
Senate Bill 1474, SD2 increases the GET base rate from 4% to 4.5%, which is a 12.5% increase, to provide a dedicated funding source for the Department of Education and University of Hawai’i. This bill to increase the GET sailed through the Senate (Maui Sen. Gil Keith-Aragan voted against the increase) and is now headed to the House of Representatives. There are several problems with raising the GET. From The Hawaii Free Press: “Hawaii GE Tax takes 8.43% of income from low-income families but only 3.31% from high-income families (8.43 / 3.31 = 255%).” Hawaii GE tax is a regressive tax and hits the people who can least afford it the hardest. Please let your State Representative know that you are against increasing the General Excise Tax in Hawaii.