Gov. David Ige pledged during a debate Monday night on KHON2 that he would veto any proposal that raised property taxes for residents or increased rents on affordable properties, disproving the misleading scare tactics being spread by opponents of the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.
"If I have the privilege of serving as governor another term, I guarantee you that I would veto any measure that increased the property taxes for residents that does not guarantee that any revenue generated from this property tax would be in addition to what's there and would be guaranteed to go to teachers, students, and the classroom and finally we will make sure that none of the taxes get increased on affordable rentals,” Ige said during the debate. “You know, we clearly are focused on creating affordable rentals and so certainly all of the concerns raised by those advocating a no I guarantee you will not occur if I am governor."
Asked how the government could assure the surcharge on investment properties that would fund public education didn’t raise the cost of living for Hawaii residents, Ige added, "We would be able to tell because the homeowner exemption is only available for those homeowners who live in their properties and clearly that would be a delineation of whether it's their home or that it's out for investment properties.”
“I think the intent was to focus on income properties so second homes that are being vacation rentals or other income generating properties over a million dollars and clearly there would be an exemption that affordable rentals would not be included for increased fees,” Ige said.
Watch Gov. David Ige talking about his pledge to assure the constitutional amendment doesn't raise residents' cost of living.
Ige also declared his support for the constitutional amendment, which is aimed at creating a surcharge on residential investment properties worth $1 million and more.
“I support this amendment because we've seen year after year about the needs of our public education system that cannot be funded with the funds that we have,” Ige said. “You know, Hawaii is the only state in the country where zero dollars--not a single penny of property taxes--goes to our public schools. This constitutional amendment is a simple question on the ballot about whether income and investment properties should be taxed and the proceeds go to improved public education. I really believe that the residents in our community have the option for choosing whether they want to support improved public education."
Lt. governor candidate State Sen. Josh Green, a physician who’s Ige’s running mate on the Democratic ticket, explained his support for the constitutional amendment.
"I think we need to bring more resources to our teachers in our classrooms. That's why I've supported this amendment,” Green said. “We've watched for many years inadequate funding as Governor pointed out very, very intelligently. Too little funds have gone to our students in our classrooms in spite of the fact that Governor and I have fought for that for years. So, this is an opportunity because I trust the people for them to make a decision. That's where I stand. I think we always have to support our teachers.”
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