New Property Tax Proposed


A new and significant property tax proposal was recently introduced by Senator Lois Wolk (D.-Davis). The bill, SB 1021, proposes to authorize more than 1,000 school districts to impose unlimited property tax increases on selected property owners by allowing the imposition of non-uniform parcel taxes. The school districts would be empowered to split parcel tax assessments within a district based on the square footage of a parcel, the square footage of improvements on a parcel and the use of the parcel. However, the same tax rate must be levied on all of the improved properties in the area to be taxed in order to comply with the State Constitution and recent decision of the California Supreme Court. The bill also allows school districts to impose a different tax rate on unimproved parcels and to treat multiple parcels as one for the purpose of imposing a parcel tax if the parcels are contiguous, under common ownership and constitute one economic unit.

The California Supreme Court denied review of a case in which taxpayers successfully invalidated a parcel tax that had been levied at a non-uniform rate which was determined to be a violation of our laws. The action of the Supreme Court meant the First District Court of Appeals’ published decision in George J. Borikas vs. Alameda Unified School District stands. The decision of the court ruled that a parcel tax levied by the school district was illegal because its rates did not apply uniformly to all of the real property to be taxed within that school district. What brought this matter to the court was a parcel tax that was approved by the voters in 2008 that was imposed on residential parcels at $120 per year and large commercial and industrial parcels at 15 cents per square foot with a maximum parcel tax of $9,500 a year.

Last year Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D) introduced AB 59, which sought to abrogate the holding in the Borikas case before it was final. The bill would have retroactively allowed de facto split-roll parcel taxes. A large coalition was op posed to the bill and ultimately it was defeated in an Assembly policy committee.

New Substandard Housing Proposal: Rodent Control

We have been very active in another bill, SB 1167 (Hueso), which is proposing to allow all code enforcement officers to force property owners to eliminate all rodents from properties and generally allow building and health inspectors to order us to correct all conditions that could possible give rise to rodent populations.

Our leadership found that if the law were amended to require elimination of all rodent populations that it would result in an impossible compliance standard. AACSC also submitted that another proposed amendment by the author to require property owners to “remediate conditions contributing to the (rodent) infestation” could not be achieved. This, too, would be an open-ended authorization for code inspectors to inspect and determine maintenance and repairs of rental property.

Ron Kingston can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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