Government Finance and Operations 02/01/2013
SCA 11 (Hancock) – Support
As Introduced on January 25, 2013
SCA 11, by Senator Loni Hancock, would allow voters of counties, cities, and special districts to approve special taxes with a 55 percent vote. It also cleans up the constitutional language about special taxes.
One of this year’s major debates in the Legislature will center on how the Democrats will use their supermajority in both houses. One likely candidate is placing constitutional amendments on the ballot. SCA 11 is one of several measures already introduced that would ask voters whether they want to make it easier for communities to raise local taxes by reducing vote thresholds from two-thirds to 55 percent.
AB 188 (Ammiano) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on January 28, 2013
AB 188, by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, would change the statutes defining a “change of ownership” for the purposes of property tax assessment.
The California Constitution requires counties to reassess properties upon a change of ownership, with certain exceptions. That event is easily defined when, for instance, one person buys a house from another person. However, it is less clear when properties owned by corporations that are themselves owned by a number of shareholders change hands.
AB 188 would specify that if the entire ownership interest in a legal entity is sold or transferred in a single transaction, then then the real property owned by that entity has changed ownership. The bill would also increase penalties for failing to report changes in ownership to the Board of Equalization and require a deed to be recorded with the county recorder upon changes in ownership interest like those described above.
The author states that some property owners use legal maneuvers to purposefully obscure changes in ownership from county assessors. The bill’s purposes are to provide greater clarity about changes in ownership, improve reporting and enforcement, and heighten transparency of ownership patterns through the filing of deeds.
A similar bill last year did not make it out of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.