Our Santa Clara County Supervisors are voting tonight on possibly doing away with Propositions 60 & 90 tax benefits for our seniors. For those of you unfamiliar with these items, they allow seniors to keep and transfer their existing property tax basis when selling and buying another property in either Santa Clara County or one of six other cooperating counties. Please consider writing your letters of support to preserve these important benefits for our senior community. Thanks in advance for reading this--and acting on it!
I urge you to preserve the Prop. 60 and 90 benefits the seniors in our and cooperating counties deserve to keep. I've seen firsthand how difficult a person's decision is to leave their familiar home and neighborhood-often the biggest compensation is knowing they will have *one* constant source of comfort-if they buy in one of the seven cooperating counties, they can keep their property tax cost the same. With the cost of medicine and healthcare escalating, this is a crucial savings to this group of longtime residents.
When someone sells and buys a home, they contribute to the economy in new ways, from installing a new kitchen to sell their existing residence, to redecorating their new home. The County also receives money for the transfer tax.
These propositions actually SAVE money.
Who comes in to take over a home, estate and a person's life, including guardianship and even probate, when an ailing senior can no longer care for him or herself? The County. This usually happens because an older or infirm person can no longer manage physically or financially. Often the person may be "house poor"-meaning the residential asset is worth a lot of money in the open market due to appreciation, but if it's sold, the person has nowhere to live (and often few personal or other resources). By the time that happens, the home, as well as the person, has deteriorated physically-and even when sold, is often worth about 20% below average market prices.
This situation of trying to take away the tax break from seniors reminds me of the Biblical story of David and the prophet Nathan. Nathan tells David a story of a rich man with many herds of sheep and a poor man with one ewe lamb that was precious to him; when food was needed, the rich man took and killed the poor man's lamb instead of one of his own. David got angry and demanded the rich man pay four-fold restitution to the poor man. (Nathan's point was that David had stolen another man's wife when he already had many of his own, and God judged David's action wrong and selfish.)
The County isn't actually "losing" money-they just aren't getting the full tax rate on the new purchase. Still, they DO get the full tax rate from the person who buys the senior's home, and the transfer tax. Let's not be guilty of stealing this one precious asset our seniors still have.
For most citizens, a home is their single largest asset. Most no longer work, the ones that do, make less money in their golden years. Many are suffering from reduced retirement income due to others' mismanagement of their pension funds and stocks.
To qualify a senior must buy a home for the same price or less. If a person can afford to buy a more expensive home, he or she does NOT qualify for the tax break. The 10 percent difference cited in the recent San Jose Mercury News article only applies to offset appreciation if buying within 2 years of selling.
These tax breaks represent a huge personal financial blessing in these individuals' lives, while the money it would bring to the County would merely mitigate a miniscule percentage of the budget, not balance it. Let's not be guilty of stealing "the poor man's only lamb" by taking away a much needed, and deserved, tax break for our seniors.
Michelle C. Carr-Crowe and the Get Re$ult$ Team
Of Judy Carr & Assoc., Inc. / Altas Realty