Parent to Child Transfer Exclusion

When property in California transfers ownership it is subject to reappraisal for property tax purposes.  An exception to this is a transfer between parents and children.  Generally speaking, parents can leave their property to their children and the children will be allowed to keep the existing base value for assessment purposes.  It helps to insure the property taxes do not increase and the property can remain in the family.  There is potentially a movement in Sacramento right now to review the parent to child exemption and possibly repeal it.  As Assessor I will not support a repeal of the parent to child exemption. 

Split Tax Roll

I do not support a split tax roll.  This idea is a proposal that has been around for several years and would value commercial property on a market value cyclical basis and leave the rest of the properties under the guidance of Proposition 13.  While it may be true that certain legal entities do not have their properties reappraised as often as the general public does, I believe there is too much potential collateral damage associated with this idea.  The owners of small businesses and family farms could be severely impacted.  It also would make California a less desirable place for business.

Prop 90 Base Year Transfers

There is a provision of the R&T Code that allows property owners over the age of 55 to transfer their Prop 13 base value to a replacement residence when they sale their original property.  This can be done in every county of the state as long as the original and replacement properties are located within the same county.  However, only 11 counties will accept a base year transfer into their county when the original property is located in another county.  Yuba County does not allow such a transfer.

I believe that Yuba County should consider accepting such base year transfers.  To me it is mainly a matter of equitable treatment.  But, I also believe it could possibly benefit our county by making it a more attractive place for retirees to relocate.  This could help the local economy and property values.

Williamson Act

The Williamson Act is a program that is designed to preserve our open space properties and vital farmland.  A property owner agrees to limit the use of their property and in return they are assessed at a lower value.  I support the Williamson Act.  It is an important tool in land planning that benefits society as a whole.

The State of California used to reimburse counties for the lost property tax revenue on Williamson Act properties.  These were known as subvention payments.  During the recent market crash the state stopped making subvention payments to the counties and has not done so for several years.  It is yet another example of the state leaving counties holding the bag.  As a result, many counties have stopped accepting additional contracts or are considering getting out of the program all together.  Yuba County is not in the Williamson Act program although it has been considered in the past. 

As Assessor, I would support the adoption of the Williamson Act in Yuba County if the subvention payments from the State could be restored to a dependable and reasonable level.  If adopted now, without any subvention, I am afraid that the impact to the general fund budget would be too great for a small county like ours.  The State needs to step up and restore subvention payments so that the Williamson Act program can be a stronger means of protecting our farm land and open space properties.     

Home Owners Exemption

If you live in the home that you own as your primary residence you are eligible for the homeowner’s exemption.  This reduces your assessed value by $7,000 and will save you about $70 a year in taxes.  Hey, $70 is &70 but it is not much of a break.  The $7,000 value exemption level was established decades ago when property values were a fraction of what they are today.  It is long overdue for an increase to a meaningful level.  I believe the exemption should be 25% of the assessed value.  The powers that be in Sacramento have failed several times to pass an increase.  It will probably take action by us as citizens to see a change on this one.

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