Mayor calls for further review of tax and sunscreen bills | News, Sports, Jobs



Mayor Michael Victorino is calling for further consideration of two bills he recently enacted that would offer tax relief to some residents and ban non-mineral sunscreens in Maui County.

Bill 118, which would make it possible to designate certain assets as “aina kupuna” and qualify for the minimum property tax, aimed to help long-time local residents who are at risk of losing their property due to market-induced increases in property values, especially in highly desirable areas along of the coast.

Victorino, who signed the bill earlier this month, said he supported the measure and its intention, but recommended further consideration, which “can shed light on the financial impacts (of) the engagement and any unintended consequences that could threaten the viability of this tax relief program.”

The mayor recommends limiting new requests for the dedication of property as aaina kupuna until December 31, 2022.

It also recommends that dedications granted between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023 be allowed to remain in the program until they are no longer eligible due to a transfer to a non-descendant, a conversion to commercial use as defined in the bill or if the measure is repealed by other measures.

The bill allows properties designated as aina kupuna to pay only the minimum property tax, which is currently $ 350 per year.

Deputy Council Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who introduced the bill, said in an email Tuesday afternoon that she plans to work with Victorino on his concerns.

“While I disagree with the approach, I agree with the concern and look forward to working with administration to address it before it becomes an issue.” she said.

Bill 135, another measure passed by council and signed by the mayor, would ban the sale, use or distribution of non-mineral sunscreens in Maui County, amid concerns about the potential toxicity of sunscreens for marine and freshwater aquatic organisms, especially corals.

While Victorino said he signed the bill to demonstrate his “A strong commitment to preserve and protect our natural resources, in particular our coral reefs”, his administration is ready to reassess the ordinance and, if necessary, to propose modifications to the council.

He said an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will review the state of the science on the use of sunscreen ingredients currently marketed in the United States, their fate and effects in aquatic environments. and the potential public health implications associated with reduced use.

The committee’s recommendations could come after the findings of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in the spring.

“Before this ordinance comes into effect, proper assessment and consideration must be made to ensure that the laws we have in place are supported by the most recent scientific research and literature available, and take a holistic view of impacts of this legislation. can affect both marine ecosystems and public health ”, Victorino wrote, noting that there are also other contributors who are harming the marine environment.

The bill is expected to come into force on October 1, 2022.

Council member Kelly King, who introduced the bill, said in an email Tuesday that while she was happy with the mayor’s signature by the mayor, “It is concerning that he is signaling his desire to be potentially watered down before his effective date.”

“The law is based on the most recent scientific research and literature available, and it takes a holistic view of impacts on marine ecosystems and public health. said the king.

She also noted the “Overwhelming support” the bill was received from the community, as well as from Craig Downs, who is widely known as a leading global expert on sunscreen chemicals and their role in the decline of coral reefs.

The bill has also been backed by the State Department of Lands and Natural Resources, researchers, environmental organizations and local youth, according to a joint press release released last week by King and the DLNR.

King added that in several meetings, the concerns of lobbyists for the sunscreen and dermatology industries “Has not stood up to Maui’s efforts to protect the environment when adequate alternatives to chemical sunscreens are plentiful.”

She acknowledged that there are many contributing factors that can harm marine ecosystems and coral reefs, but that the council is addressing them as well.

* Melissa Tanji can be contacted at [email protected]

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