Attorney Ron Heller at Torkildson, Katz, Hetherington, Harris & Knorek, Attorneys at Law recently represented a client in a Hawaii Supreme Court case involving a real property tax dispute.
According to the court document, the dispute revolved around one central issue: whether or not counties in Hawaii have the power to define, or re-define, what constitutes "real property" under article VIII, section 3 of the Hawaii Constitution.
The County amended section 3.48.005 of the Maui County Code to redefine "real property" to include wind turbines (personal property) in its real property tax assessments. The court said, "We hold that the County exceeded its constitutional authority …"
The Court went on to state that the delegates to the 1978 Constitutional Convention “understood that the power to define, and redefine, the term ‘real property’ rested with the [State] legislature.”