Early Attendance Suggested for BF70 March 10th Meeting

About

Faith Ewbank, a 47-year resident of Maui, is a mother and grandmother who has testified at many Maui County and Hawaii State hearings. Her interest in island agriculture inspired her recent turn from graphic design to writing.

Maui County Budget & Finance Committee BF70 is back for decision making. This Thursday 3/10 at 5:00 pm is the continuation of the BF-70 committee hearing. Early arrival is being suggested because the doors to the County Building will be locked at 5:00. #Farmers and #Ranchers are encouraged to be in attendance.

Related BF70 (nicknamed BS70) Notes from Feb. 29th hearing:

All testimonies given opposed BF70.

Pre-hearing remarks by Council member Mike Victorino in reaction to audience in the gallery “There are more Portagees in this room than I seen in the last 25 years!”

I must say so myself, you would think you were at Oskie Rice Arena, cowboy hats everywhere. 68 testifiers in total, standing room. As Riki Hokama read bill details, unruly behavior ensued, someone yelled, “Yah?! You only endorsing YOUR bill!” Someone else yelled “Shut Up!” You could tell then, there was going to be heated testimony. I could not believe how late the kupuna stayed to hear testimony, unbelievable support. Everyone that testified received applause.

Some testimony quotes here: Opening testimony Mike Molina diligently suggested upcountry evening meeting to inform and hear from those who might not be informed. Best sound bites I recorded here: “You are discouraging people who are trying to get started in ag!” —-“It means you have given up on ag.” —- “you stay biting the hand that feeds you!” — ‘We will be right behind HC&S if you pass this! [referring to ceasing farming] — “We not millionaires, we average people!” —- “Those who crafted this bill have not made stakeholder engagement!” —- [changed] “farm to table, tax to county coffers” —- “this bill is a zombie” —- “next generation farmers will have to give it up all together” – “How about GE tax for Gentlemen Farmers and their false agriculture?!” “You want to identify a real farmer, look at the man’s hands!”

You can watch on Akaku Channel 53 Feb. 29 Budget & Finance Meeting.

Written testimony is accepted. E-mail opposition to: bf.committee@mauicounty.us

Bill language here:

     http://www.co.maui.hi.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/21313

Points of Interest about BF-70:

*Ag Use Value will be eliminated. All Farm and Ranch land will be taxed at Full Market Value.
*Discounts will be applied to “Dedicated” Farms and Ranches only.
*5 year dedication 50% discount
*10 year dedication 80% discount
*20 year dedication 98% discount (sounds like a lot. Does not add up when re-figured at Market Value. Most farms tax increase, some will double and some may triple.)

To be eligible for dedication:

*$2500 per year income per TMK evidenced by IRS tax return including Schedule For equivalent, Hawaii State Excise Tax license.
*Prove that dedicated parcel is currently in use as a farm or ranch.
*Prove that the farm or ranch will produce the required income prior to the expiration of the dedicated period.
*Approval by the Director of the crop or livestock you grow.
*Approval by Ag Dedication Commission of the crop or livestock you grow.
*New farm plans submitted and filed with bureau of conveyances through Real *Property Tax and Planning Department.
*Warranty Deeds for each parcel re-filed with bureau of conveyances through Real Property Tax and Planning Department.
*No provision for lands already in dedication.
*No provision for transfer of farm from one farmer/rancher to another through sale or inheritance.
*Major penalties if farming or ranching stops or is transferred unless due to debilitating illness or death of the farmer, change of zoning due to State or County, eminent  domain, natural disaster or loss of adequate water and then at the sole discretion of the director.  Penalty: Roll back tax for the entire dedication at full market value plus penalties and interest compounded.
*Major penalties if tax payment is late.
*Subsistence Farming will no longer be eligible for working Ag status. Will be taxed at Full Market Value.
*Arboretums, Botanical Gardens and Seed Banks will not be eligible.
*Non-profits will no longer be eligible.
*Farm land that has been condominiumized will not be eligible.
BF-70 conflicts with the Maui Island Plan and current Maui County Code ‘19.30A.010 –

 Purpose and intent:

Section B #2. Mitigate rising property values of farm lands to make agricultural use more economically feasible

By using Full Market Value ag land will not be protected at all from rising property values and agriculture will not be economically feasible.

Home site will be assessed and taxed at Full Market Value.

Any land use change (undefined in draft bill) will cause a cancellation of the dedication and roll-back tax and penalties and interest compounded.

Any change to the crop or livestock will need to be approved by the director. And only after an explanation of why the change is requested along with transition plans and timelines are submitted for the change.

They want the right to inspect your farm or ranch without notification at any time of day or night.

If income should drop below $2500 at any time during the dedication roll-back taxes penalties and interest will occur.

No state in the nation uses Full Market Value for assessment of Ag land.

No state in the nation has penalties this severe for dedication failure.

Maui County Council E-Mail Addresses and Phone Numbers: