Santa Clara County Seniors Property Tax Break Saved
by Michelle Carr-Crowe, Top 5% San Jose Real Estate Agent, Senior Real Estate Specialist
Thanks to input from real estate professionals and senior citizens in San Jose, Cupertino and Los Altos, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is retaining Proposition 90, one of the most critical property tax breaks for Santa Clara County senior homeowners.
On Tues., June 14th at 1:30, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to keep the inter-county benefit intact and rejected the County Executive and Assessor recommendation to discontinue Proposition 90 for the upcoming fiscal year.
As part of the Santa Clara County Proposed Budget for 2012, the County Executive and Assessor recommended the Board of Supervisors repeal the local ordinances implementing Proposition 90 effective January 1, 2012. The County is currently facing a $220 million budget shortfall of a $4 billion budget. According to the County its repeal will not create a slight increase in revenue until 2013, which we estimate to be $150,000.
For over 20 years Prop. 90 has allowed for hundreds of senior and disabled homeowners in San Jose, Saratoga and Cupertino to move closer to family, medical services and jobs. Otherwise they would have been locked-in to their previous residences due to the significant property tax increase incurred in moving. This has provided a significant benefit in improving the quality of life for homeowners as well as creating opportunities for the original properties to be reassessed at a higher rate.
Currently, Santa Clara County is one of eight in the state (including Alameda and San Mateo) that allows seniors (over the age of 55) and the severally disabled to buy a primary residence of equal and lesser value and move into the county while transferring their assessed value for property tax purposes from their original residence through Prop. 90. This is similar to same rights allowed under Proposition 60 and 110 (which are mandatory programs), but Prop. 90 allows the transfer across county lines.
Nearly 60 percent of the state's population lives in Prop. 90 counties. It has not been publicly released by the County, but more homeowners currently leave the county using Prop. 90 than move in, leading to a net gain in property taxes.
The most recent figures for Santa Clara County (from 2009) were shared at a recent Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® meeting: 62 people moved out and 26 moved in. HOWEVER, for the 62 who took advantage of Proposition 90 to move from Santa Clara County to one of the 7 other participating Prop. 90 counties, 62 new families moved in AND PAID NEW HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES. That results in an overall net GAIN to the County in terms of tax revenue.
If this had passed, Santa Clara County would have been the first major county to drop Prop. 90 since its inception. There were concerns such an action could create a domino effect, leading to other counties leaving the program, as well. If fewer counties participate in Prop. 90, it will be harder for seniors and disabled homeowners to move and downsize.
For more information regarding Prop. 90, click here now. Thank you for reading, passing this on and taking the time to help our senior citizens preserve this critically important property tax break.