Mayoral candidates Kirk Caldwell, Peter Carlisle and Ben Cayetano shied away from making any promises about property taxes during the debate last week. But they weren’t bashful when it came to making definitive statements about their past actions on tax-related matters.
Cayetano repped his record as governor when asked to make a pledge to not raise property tax rates if elected.
“When I was governor, I cut taxes,” he said. “We cut the personal income tax rate from 10 to 8.25 (percent). I wanted to cut it more, but the Legislature did not agree because they knew it was more important to people like Kirk to hold the line. So I don’t intend to raise the property taxes.”
We wanted to know if Cayetano really did reduce the rates as he claimed, so we checked with the Hawaii State Tax Office.
Cayetano, who was governor from 1994 to 2002, advocated for more cuts in 2001. He wanted to drop the income tax rate to 7.5 percent by 2005, but he lacked the votes in the Legislature to make it happen.
BOTTOM LINE: Cayetano said he cut the personal income tax rate 1.75 percent as governor. State tax office records confirm his claim, making his statement True.
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