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Honolulu City Council fails to override mayor’s veto of military tax break

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE

    Mayor Kirk Caldwell, seen here giving the State of the City address at the Neal Blaisdell Center in April, vetoed a bill that would have given a tax break for active military personnel who own property on Oahu.

Leaders of the Honolulu City Council today failed to override Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s veto of a bill giving additional tax breaks for active military personnel who own property on Oahu.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin, who introduced the bill, was joined in supporting the override by members Carol Fukunaga, Ann Kobayashi, Trevor Ozawa and Kymberly Pine. Opposed to the override were Ikaika Anderson, Brandon Elefante, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor. The 5-4 vote fell one short of the six needed to override a veto.

Deputy Budget Director Manny Valbuena said the plan would cost as much as $1 million in lost revenues and would be unfair to law enforcement officers, and first responder workers and others who would not have received the break. He also pointed out that the federal government provides housing allowances for military members.

Bill 91 (2017) would have given servicemembers what amounts to a $140 annual reduction on their property taxes. The bill would have provided a $120,000 exemption from assessed value of the homes they occupy, or 50 percent more than the standard $80,000 owner-occupant exemption.

Caldwell’s veto was the fourth in four months against Council-approved bills. This is the only one of the four that Council leadership attempted to override.

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