Guess which agency can impose state tax?

Lots of the controversy swirling around the ballot measure seeking to impose a “surcharge” on investment property to support public education involves our Department of Education (DOE). The DOE currently receives an appropriation from the state’s General Fund of about $2 billion and is also able to pull from other funding sources such as federal funds.

Spotlight on Business: The business of fulfilling dreams — Ironman at 40

In a few weeks, 2,550 athletes will descend on West Hawaii for what is arguably the greatest endurance sporting event in the world: the Ironman World Championship. These athletes will be attended to by 5,000 volunteers, both community members and visitors, and will be reported on by approximately 250 credentialed members of the media, supported by hundreds of TV production and social media crew members, making this the largest media event in the state. It’s a far cry from the tiny, 15-contestant race of the first Ironman 40 years ago.

Say it’s a tax

The news recently mentioned a lawsuit that the City and County of Honolulu, now joined by the other three counties, has leveled against our state government regarding the HSTA-sponsored constitutional amendment. The counties, obviously not overjoyed at the prospect of the state slapping a surcharge on their primary source of revenue, want the courts to void the ballot question. They list several reasons, including that the ballot question is misleading; that “investment property,” the subject of the new tax/surcharge, is hopelessly vague; and that Senate Bill 2922, which contains the amendment, was improperly adopted.

Volcano Art Center reopens

HILO — When Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopened Saturday, the Volcano Art Center also reopened its gallery within the park.

Agencies can’t be beyond reproach

One of the more unique property tax exemptions in the City and County of Honolulu is the exemption for “Historic Residential Real Property Dedicated for Preservation.” Under the exemption ordinance, owners of historic homes can save thousands of dollars in real property taxes every year if they put up a certain plaque, allow viewing of the home, and meet other requirements. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the city is giving the exemption to 342 homes and forgoing taxation on $600 million in property value, translating to a revenue loss exceeding $2 million.