State / In Brief

The Associated Press

Oahu homeowners to get tax break

HONOLULU — Honolulu officials have approved a bill that would lower property taxes by about $70 for most Oahu homeowners.

The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously for the bill last week despite Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration saying it would cause the city to lose more than $10 million in annual revenue, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The measure would raise the standard home exemption from $80,000 to $100,000, marking the first increase of the exemption since 2006. Properties where the owner is also the occupant are eligible for the exemption.

Under a property tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, a homeowner with a house assessed at $880,000 would pay tax on $780,000 of value. The homeowner’s tax bill would be $2,730 instead of $2,800 under the increased exemption.

The bill also would increase the standard senior home exemption from $120,000 to $140,000. The exemption is available to owner-occupants who are 65 and older.

The tax savings might not seem like a lot for an average family, but it could reflect a shift in tax philosophy, said Councilwoman Heidi Tsune-yoshi, who wrote the bill.

“It’s a start in the right direction in making sure we create a Hawaii that supports its people and ensures they can continue to call this place home,” Tsuneyoshi said.

The mayor has until May 3 to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.


Man collapses after condominium fire

HONOLULU — Authorities say an 83-year-old man is in critical condition after evacuating from his condominium building as firefighters battled a blaze Saturday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

The firefighters contained the Rainbow Place condominiums building fire in the Moiliili neighborhood shortly after 10 a.m. after taking residents to a nearby elementary school, the Star-Advertiser reports.

The newspaper says the man collapsed around 11 a.m. after he left the building and watched the fire from across the street.

An EMS report says that paramedics administered life-saving treatment to the man who did not come in contact with smoke or fire while he was in the building.