Board of Supervisors votes on property tax issue

County hopes to become more attractive to new residents

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday tentatively approved an ordinance that would allow qualifying homeowners to transfer their property tax assessment from a home in one county to a home in Riverside County to attract new residents with money to spend.

Under the ordinance, Riverside County would adopt provisions laid out in Proposition 90, approved by California voters in 1988, and Proposition 110, approved by voters two years later.

``This puts us on equal footing with Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties,'' Inland Valley Association of Realtors' President Doug Shepherd told the board. ``Thousands of new homes will be built, and there will be greater demand for them.''

Prop 90 permits homeowners 55 years and over to retain, when they move,
the ``factored base year'' assessment that determines how much they pay annually in property taxes. According to the law, a property owner can relocate to another county, purchase a house there and pay the same amount of annual property taxes he or she was paying on the home sold in the original county, despite upgrading.

Prop 110 affords the same treatment, only it applies exclusively to
disabled homeowners.  Only eight counties in the state have ordinances that provide for inter-county transfers of property taxes. Riverside County had such an ordinance in
place until 1995, when it was rescinded because of concerns over property tax

Supervisors John Benoit and Kevin Jeffries asked their colleagues to consider codifying Props 90 and 110 in a new ordinance as a means to attract more retirees to the region. The supervisors touted the potential collateral economic benefits.

Shepherd cited studies showing that Prop 90 could generate an additional
$127 million in annual economic benefits and lead to 676 new jobs a year. He
said retailers and contractors would realize gains as new residents pay for
home improvements, furnishings and other necessities.

Supervisor Jeff Stone spoke out against the proposed ordinance during
meetings in May and June, arguing that the county stood to lose more than it
might gain by sparing some home purchasers from paying taxes that reflect the
actual market value of their properties.  

Stone said he has since changed his mind.   ``Public officials like to proclaim they are right even when they are not. I did a little research and found out my paternal grandmother, Shirley, moved to Murrieta (in the early 1990s) because of Proposition 90,'' the supervisor said. ``I was lucky to have a grandparent I could visit till I was
almost 50 years old.''

Stone characterized the new ordinance as ``healthy for the county.''

The board is slated to formally ratify the measure during its Aug. 20

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