Thursday, April 19, 2018
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, October 29, 2017
Should Surfrider be Licensed to Pass Out Property Tax Exemptions?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:01 AM :: 1814 Views :: Environment, Ethics, Small Business, Tax Credits

Ocean-Friendly Restaurants – Do They Warrant a Property Tax Exemption?

by Tom Yamachika, President Tax Foundation Hawaii

Recently, the Honolulu City Council approved on first reading Bill 80 (2017), which would award a real property tax exemption to “ocean-friendly restaurants.”

The term “ocean-friendly restaurant” was coined by a nonprofit organization called the Surfrider Foundation. That organization, founded in 1984 with its home office in San Clemente, CA, has as its mission “the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.” According to its website, it has 80 chapters nationally, five of which are in Hawaii (Kauai, Kona Kai Ea, Hilo, Maui, and Oahu chapters).

The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurant Program recognizes restaurants meeting certain defined criteria by giving them a nice blue placard to display, and by featuring those restaurants on their website. To be certified, a restaurant must meet four mandatory criteria, which are: (1) No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam). (2) Proper recycling practices are followed. (3) Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining, and disposable utensils for takeout food are provided only upon request. (4) No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders. In addition, a restaurant needs to meet three out of six of the following: (5) Plastic straws are provided only upon request. (6) No beverages sold in plastic bottles. (7) Discount is offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc. (8) Vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis; and / or all seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable. (Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They classify seafood species based on whether the seafood is caught or farmed responsibly.) (9) Water conservation efforts, such as low-flow faucets and toilets, are implemented. (10) Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, are in place.

Restaurants meeting all ten of these criteria are recognized as “Platinum Level Ocean-Friendly Restaurants.” Oahu and the Neighbor Islands each have several.

So now we go back to Bill 80. Bill 80 would exempt any Ocean-Friendly Restaurants from Honolulu real property tax, if they are certified as such by the Surfrider Foundation and are recertified at least once every two years.

Let’s ask the obvious question. Why do ocean-friendly restaurants merit a tax exemption while dog-friendly or bike-friendly restaurants don’t? Should fast food drive-thru restaurants get an exemption for being car-friendly?

When the City’s 2014 Real Property Tax Advisory Commission looked at the issue of exemptions generally, it observed that one of the primary justifications for granting a tax exemption to an organization is that the organization performs essential work or services that the government would have to perform itself if the organization were not present. The commission stated that if a for-profit organization is allowed an exemption, the subsidy provided by the exemption can increase the profits that inure to the owners of the organization. Moreover, it unbalances the playing field of competition and forces the rest of us who are not favored with such an exemption to pay for the county services consumed by these businesses. The City’s 2014 Real Property Tax Advisory Commission, however, was just offering these recommendations. Few of them were adopted by the City Council.

Another issue to consider is that a real property tax exemption grants the affected property a fixed tax amount, currently $300, regardless of property size or value. So, the exemption gives more benefit to bigger, more valuable properties. Is that the result we want to advance the social policy behind this exemption?

The 2017 Real Property Tax Advisory Commission has been convened and is now working on its own report. We’ll see if the powers that be think that ocean-friendly restaurants merit a real property tax break.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A'ole Eradication

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Friends of Lanai

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

GoGoGMO!

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii Open Budget

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Hawaii Votes

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assoc.

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

No Hawaii Beverage Tax

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

OpenHawaii.org

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

TFB Micronesia

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

YAL UH Hilo 

Yes2TMT

 

 

 

Maui TEA Party
Maui TEA Party