All four counties are suing the state to block a ballot question that would allow a property tax surcharge for schools.
The question’s title is “relating to public education and investment property.”
The complaint says that’s vague and misleading, because the purpose of the vote is to expand property tax powers to the state.
Donna Leong, Honolulu’s corporation counsel, says it’s not clear what kinds of property owners will have to pay more “because of the breadth of investment real property and its vagueness, but also because this is yet another tax.”
“The only one suggesting they’ll be taxing commercial businesses is the people trying to kill it. The only thing we’re looking for is second homes over a million dollars, and we believe that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.
The counties say that if the state gets property tax powers, it will hamper counties from raising their own revenue.