Letter: In Response to ‘Charge It’

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There were mathematical errors in J.J. Gasparotti’s “Charge It” column, regarding the abundant city coffers and how Proposition 13 has not caused any revenue loss to the City of Laguna Beach since it was passed in 1978.

California is the only state to provide this tax break. If it were such a revenue generator, one would surmise other states would pass similar measures. It has cost California schools, counties and cities billions of dollars over the years. In 2017, Los Angeles County was deprived $280 million in revenue due to Prop 13.

The Los Angeles Times obtained a decade’s worth of property records from 13 counties along California’s coast and compared with public data via Zillow.

The Times found the following irrefutable facts:

“Areas of Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach could have collected an additional $7 million and $5.5 million, respectively, in property tax receipts last year without the inheritance benefit.”

“The children of Lloyd Bridges had a $5,700 tax bill last year for their Malibu home now estimated by Zillow to be worth $6.8 million. If someone bought the home at that price today, they’d pay more than $76,000 annually in property taxes.”

J.J.—how many of these homes are in Laguna Beach? That would be $70,300 in additional revenue to Laguna Beach for one home.

“In Malibu, Hollywood Hills and Playa del Rey, more than 80 percent of owners report their inherited property is not their primary residence.” Absent homeowners are great for local restaurants and shops.

There is a reason why Laguna’s population continues to decline. It’s very difficult for anyone to afford a home due to Prop 13. Homes will continue to be trusted down forever, many will remain neglected and empty, and Laguna’s population will continue to atrophy, hurting the local economy.

Although the Supreme Court ruled in favor in Prop. 13, Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissenting opinion wrote the inheritance benefit, “establishes a privilege of a medieval character: Two families with equal needs and equal resources are treated differently solely because of their different heritage.”

 

Clay Nolde, Laguna Beach

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Your conclusion does not logically follow from your facts. For starters, the population of Laguna Beach has been stable for decades. In 1990, it was 23,425. In 2017, it was 23,147. (Okay, if we’re nitpicking….)

    Is Prop 13, with its very real inequities and loopholes, the reason it’s “very difficult for anyone to afford a home” here? It could be a factor. But that’s just a guess, because our exceptionally desirable location, the scarcity of buildable land, the booming population beyond our greenbelt, and a massive statewide shortage of housing strike me as more compelling explanations.

    Given the supermajority needed to pass or reform a tax, we’re going to be living with Prop 13 until Laguna is underwater. And although our state property tax burden puts us in 30th place, our total state tax burden (property tax + income tax + sales and excise tax) puts us in 11th place. Clearly, we’ve developed some lucrative workarounds to offset any decline in property tax revenue, such as our local hotel taxes and parking meters.

    PS: There have always been a lot of well-maintained, often empty vacation homes in Laguna. But what data do you have that shows Laguna also has a lot “neglected and empty” inherited homes?

  2. Your conclusion does not logically follow from your facts. For starters, the population of Laguna Beach has been stable for decades. In 1990, it was 23,425. In 2017, it was 23,147. (Okay, if we’re nitpicking….)

    Is Prop 13, with its very real inequities and loopholes, the reason it’s “very difficult for anyone to afford a home” here? It could be a factor. But that’s just a guess, because our exceptionally desirable location, the scarcity of buildable land, the booming population beyond our greenbelt, and a massive statewide shortage of housing strike me as more compelling explanations.

    Given the supermajority needed to pass or reform a tax, we’re going to be living with Prop 13 until Laguna is underwater. And although our state property tax burden puts us in 30th place, our total state tax burden (property tax + income tax + sales and excise tax) puts us in 11th place. Clearly, we’ve developed some lucrative workarounds, such as our local hotel taxes and parking meters, to offset any decline in property tax revenue.

    PS: There have always been a lot of well-maintained, often empty vacation homes in Laguna. But what data do you have that shows Laguna also has a lot “neglected and empty” inherited homes?

  3. I would like to know who the heck is shouting more tax, tax us more..the schools have failed, the gov has failed and yet some cry more tax…has the thought ever been conceived that we pay too much for what we get or is more to make more poor..Who the hell votes for more taxes…Our state is already failing with more problems then ever along with more money that we pay..so let’s put the senior’s in the street..they get increases every year..I am sorry, but can never understand people wanting to increase taxes that are wasted on our very poorly run gov…interesting..nothing to say of what the schools are churning out, uneducated, uninformed kids that have no idea of how to get by and gov run by bureaucrats that don’t have a clue on how to really make a dime of their own money..the pensions for all this B.S are out of control…stop and Think people.

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