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Rant against part-timers off base, inaccurate

I read the complaint about part-time residents voicing their opinion (Letters, Nov. 29). Last time I checked, the First Amendment gave all Americans the right to free speech, not just those living in Maui County.

The writer’s other issue was that part-time residents do not pay their fair share of taxes to the county. He needs to double check his figures. Timeshare holders and nonowner-occupied property owners pay a much higher property tax rate than those living here. Nor do most qualify for the many property tax exemptions given out to residents. No mention of how much tax money is generated by the hotel occupancy tax paid for by the tourists.

Instead of attacking those who visit and invest in Maui, the better solution would be offering ideas for real reform of the property tax system in the county and in the state. Property tax reform has passed recently in New Jersey, Wisconsin and in Texas. California is still the gold standard by having one low tax rate for all property owners, which is 1 percent. They also cap the rate of increase based on yearly appraisal values. Local government should not get rich by sitting on yearly appraisal creep.

Lower property taxes for all property owners would create more investment and more economic growth in Maui County. In 1963, when John F. Kennedy was attempting to pass his massive across-the-board income tax cut, he would use the line “A rising tide lifts all boats.” We sure need a rising tide in Hawaii.

Thomas Marchetti

Rockwall, Texas