City Council advances bill to use property tax funds for rail
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City Council advances bill to use property tax funds for rail

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 2015
                                Joey Manahan

    STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 2015

    Joey Manahan

As a solution to rail’s fiscal crisis remains elusive, Honolulu City Council members today advanced a measure that would lift the ban on using property tax dollars to help finish building the island’s elevated transit project.

The Council Budget Committee’s four members unanimously approved Bill 42 on second reading, with members expressing reluctance but adding that recent moves in the Legislature compelled them to do so.

Some state lawmakers have said they’ll only support extending rail’s general excise tax surcharge if the city lifts its ban on using property taxes to help build the project. Furthermore, on Tuesday, a funding rail deal in the Legislature collapsed, with some members say the bill is dead for now. If the state can’t come up with a deal, it will fall to the city to figure out what to do about rail and how to pay for it.

“I’m concerned with the situation that we find ourselves in,” Councilman Ikaika Anderson said during the committee’s meeting.

The position the Council faces in lifting the property tax ban is “involuntary at the moment,” Budget Chairman Joey Manahan added.

To pass, the measure still must go through one more committee vote and two full Council votes.

The committee also advanced on second reading Bill 45, which would authorize using more GET surcharge dollars to pay for rail — if the Legislature somehow provides those dollars.

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