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Original post made
on May 6, 2010
Why were Palo Alto and Menlo Park able to pass their parcel tax while Pleasanton failed?
The answer is very simple. Those towns don’t have a bunch of selfish, conservative, Tea Party-loving, anti-tax zealots to vote down the tax like we do in Pleasanton. They don’t have a bunch of Fox News zombies who want to turn their back on all forms of government, including public education. Of course, many people in this community want to use the teachers and unions as scapegoats because they are too cheap and myopic to help fund schools that badly need the help. You get what you pay for in life, and when you cheap out on public schools, you can expect them to degrade. So Pleasanton, will we step to the plate and pass the parcel tax or will we hope that Tea Party pixie dust will magically fund our schools?
Voter chose not to pass parcel tax...now give it a rest...problem solved!
I thought their schools were run so well, they did not need 'another' parcel tax? hummmmmmmmm
I don't know if you can blame it on the TEA party, but people are selfish and already paying tons of taxes. So I can understand why nobody wants to pay more taxes. However, if you explain to people that a $500/yr parcel tax could help them avoid another 10% or 15% decline in their property value, they might be more willing to support it. Based on the average value of houses in Pleasanton, a 10% to 15% decline translates into $60,000 to $90,000 in property value. So that's a return on investment of 12000% to 18000%. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.
I hope you anti-tax types understand that your property values will drop if the public schools go to hell, so it might be in your own SELF INTEREST to support our schools. I’m trouble by some in this community that have a blatant disregard for the well-being of our school system. Their attitude seems to be “I’m 60 years old, I don’t have kids in the district anymore, I need my fourth SUV, to hell with this liberal tax!” That attitude will ruin our schools and ultimately ruin Pleasanton.
Just playing with you guys. Parcel tax = More free education for illegals! VIVA!
"Voter chose not to pass parcel tax...now give it a rest...problem solved!"
I feel so cheap and dirty agreeing with Cholo :-)
I support the schools and teachers, but I support our democrat process more. We are all free to donate to the schools and I really encourage everyone to do so, but if a parcel tax doesn't pass, it doesn't pass. Its great to see that both sides can still resort to 3rd grade name calling though!
You notice how they didn't mention the turnouts at anywhere but Palo Alto? Then they take this 50%+ number and try to say that ALL mail in ballots are thus legit. Let's forget that most are 20% or less. When are we gonna stop taking this blatant propaganda?
By the way, Palo Altos full of a demographic one would expect to vote for more taxes
"By the way, Palo Altos full of a demographic one would expect to vote for more taxes"
That demographic in Palo Alto being intelligent people who care about their schools, instead of selfish conservatives who care more about buying garbage from Walmart than they do about the state of our public schools.
Chris and Ryan
How much time(far more valuable than money)have you put into the schools? If you have done any- good for you, otherwise talk is cheap.
Ryan U, why aren't you living across the bay with all them smart liberals?
In other parcel tax news: Web Link
"one Santa Cruz Mountains school district narrowly passed its parcel tax, while a neighboring district lost its bid by just over 1 percentage point, according to official final results.
The Lakeside Joint School District's Measure C won 517 yes votes, or 67.23 percent of the 769 votes cast.
The Loma Prieta Joint Union School District's Measure G got 1,008 yes votes, or 65.45 percent of the 1,540 votes cast. Both measures needed two-thirds approval to pass.
Loma Prieta already has a $150 parcel tax, which expires in two years. Measure G would have supplemented that with $95 annually."
That's rich. They have a parcel tax and wanted to raise another one while the first one was still in place.
We need to follow PA's lead in passing a parcel tax to keep our schools (and our city) competitive. If Pleasanton loses its appeal to home buyers, our property values would suffer. I don't like paying any more taxes as I'm paying too much as-is. But I don't want to see our property values drop any further either. If the little investment of 500-600 bucks a year can stablize or raise our property values, then the investment is well worth it. Yes, I do acknowledge all the talk about the S&C and blah blah blah. That's part of the cost of keeping quality educators so we will deal with it. Let's face it, homes in PA are so damn expensive mainly because of their outstanding schools. Keep messing with the school fundings at we will all get "eff'd" at the end when property values drop.
Homes in PA are expensive because it's PA. With your logic, Oakland should have the best schools around and it would be difficult to get a home there.
To 'Stacey' - If vote counts hold, Acalanes just passed a second parcel tax (for 5 years) after they extended an existing parcel tax last November. Yes, rich.
On the one hand, if Pleasanton voters don't pass a parcel tax, the public school system will continue to decline relative to surrounding communities.
On the other hand, if Pleasanton voters don't pass a parcel tax, I may finally be able to afford a home in Pleasanton instead of just renting.
Quite the moral dilemma :)
If quality of schools deteriorate, homes in this area will become more "affordable". That will ultimately attract people who are looking for affordable homes and these are likely people with lower income. The quality of life, and the P-town as we know it, will be history. Protect our way of life by voting for a parcel tax. People in PA are smart to vote for a parcel tax to protect their way of life and so should we. Stacey should just move to Tracy or Modesto and continue her fight on taxes there.
Should I suggest you move to Palo Alto so you can pay the taxes you desire? Of course not.
I'm not against taxes. I'm against unfair taxation. Taxation should be fair. Parcel taxes, especially flat rate ones, are not. They're highly regressive. They unduly burden single family residential property owners who may or may not have children in the school system. Commercial properties reap the benefits of a good school system too yet homeowners end up subsidizing those benefits (that's why some other districts make more fair parcel taxes by setting a rate per square foot!). If a multi-family apartment owner paid per square foot, they'd be more likely to pass on the cost to the renters, allowing renters to also bear some of the tax burden.
Here it is again for the umpteenth time... All you ever wanted to know about the economics of the parcel tax. Web Link
"For example, consider the cost facing the average single-family homeowner in an elementary school district of increasing spending per pupil by $1. If the increase in spending per pupil were financed through the property tax, the cost to the homeowner would by $.44. In contrast, if the increase in spending per pupil were financed through the parcel tax, the cost to the homeowner would be $.58 cents, or almost 32 percent more. A similar pattern holds for high school and unified school districts, where the increases are 47 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively."
"This increase in the marginal price of school spending to homeowners may explain why only a small proportion of California’s school districts have chosen to impose parcel taxes. The demand for public school spending depends on more than just income and preferences; it also depends on the marginal price of that spending. Most other states still use the property tax as the primary source of discretionary school revenue. As are result, homeowners in those states face lower marginal prices for school spending. These lower marginal prices, in turn, increase the demand for public school spending."
Do you really need to make 4 posts in a row? I get it! You're too cheap to fund our schools and will use any excuse to get out of paying a tax. I guess we should follow your plan so Pleasanton can be on the fast track to becoming the new Bakersfield or some other conservative hellhole town.
Yea, that's it. Keep up the ad hominem attacks and name-calling. That'll for sure win people over that they'll be lining up to pay more taxes!
Include provisions in a parcel tax that actively work towards a long term sustainable solution and I'll approve paying more out of my pocket. Just cutting days out of the school year isn't going to cut it though.
This isn't Greece people.
Stacey: Go join your buddies for tea in other cities. We will pass a parcel tax to keep home prices high in our beautiful town. Bye Stacey and don't let our parcel tax hits you on your way out.
Thanks for today's dose of humor! I'm glad you were able to afford to move into the beautiful town I lived in for the past 30 years so you could talk trash about your neighbors.
Now I see why you refuse to support the much needed tax. You purchased at a time when this town was still a cow pasture unlike some of us who paid 300x the price you paid. Go find yourself another cow pasture elsewhere. Times have moved on but clearly you've not.
To 'Diva' - You crack up quite a few more people than just Stacey. Keep it up.
Your attitude is "I don't have kids in the district anymore, so screw the public schools, not my problem." I find that to be truly selfish and shortsighted. The state of our public schools impacts the entire community and we have a vested interest in supporting them. I’m sick of all the weak excuses (unions, teachers, etc.) for not paying a parcel tax. If you're serious about maintaining a good school district and property values, you need to help the district in a time of need.
Jake and Diva,
I won't assume things about you if you'll do the favor of not assuming things about me. At least your assumptions are providing more comedy for me.
Honestly, Pleasanton voters are never going to pass a parcel tax, and certainly not a substantial one as voters in surrounding communities are doing, rather than see their public schools fall into ruin.
That's why the recent lawsuit that Pleasanton lost on "affordable housing" was a waste of time. Market forces are going to make homes in Pleasanton MUCH more affordable as the PUSD schools quickly disintegrate.
As for comedy, well...watching a certain person here flail about with post after post in an attempt to control the discussion and bully others into silence is at least amusing.
great post as usual!
"I'm not against taxes. I'm against unfair taxation. Taxation should be fair. "
Stacey, you need to admit when you are wrong. You say you want a "fair" tax, then on other threads say that you like Prop 13. No one would say Prop 13 is a fair tax. Newer home owners subsidize older home owners by paying a higher RATE of taxes. That is the effect of inflation. You can't have it both ways. If you think a parcel tax is unfair, then you have to admit that Prop 13 is also unfair.
Yes Thomas, because you know that I just love coming here to clarify my position on taxation and getting called cheap, selfish, and shortsighted.
I never said on those other threads that I thought Prop. 13 is not fair. In fact I've said the alternatives are unfair. It is not fair to current homeowners to have to pay more without a proportional increase in government service just because the speculative real estate market in California tends to run away higher than the average person can afford. Government receives a windfall in new revenue due to that market. Also new homeowners DO pay the same rate as everyone else, rate being the percentage of value. Only the _amount_ is different.
If a new property tax system were created in California whereby current homeowners would be protected from runaway increases in value due to market speculation, I'd probably support it. You forget that homeowners prior to Prop. 13 saw upwards of 50% increase in their property taxes. So someone paying $10,000 on their million dollar home today would _in one year_ owe $20,000!
"rate being the percentage of value. Only the _amount_ is different."
You keep saying that, but it is wrong. You need to look at inflation. Long term homeowners not only pay a lower dollar value, but also a lower RATE. The value of a dollar (its buying power) decreases each year with the rate of inflation. The value of the house does not. Prop 13 caps the increase in taxes at a rate lower than that of average inflation. So even if the value of a house is assumed fixed and not increasing, the fraction paid in taxes each year decreases because of inflation. You are paying a lower amount and a smaller portion.
"You forget that homeowners prior to Prop. 13 saw upwards of 50% increase in their property taxes. "
Where do I forget that? Does it somehow follow from that that Prop 13 is a good law?
"I never said on those other threads that I thought Prop. 13 is not fair. "
You said that you were in favor of Prop 13 but against unfair taxes. You contradicted yourself.
"Ad hominem" attacks?
Let's leave the gays out of this :)
Tax rate isn't a difficult concept to understand and I know you're smarter than that.
"Tax Rate - The County levies an ad valorem property tax at a rate equal to 1% of the taxable value. In addition, the rate will include an amount equal to the amount needed to make payments for the interest and principal on general obligation bonds or other indebtedness approved by the voters.
TRA - The tax rate area (TRA) is a specific geographic area all of which is within the jurisdiction of the same combination of local agencies for the current fiscal year. There are over 1,100 TRAs in Alameda County, each one identified by a unique number."
For example, I'm in tax rate area 19-010. Everyone this tax rate area (probably most of Pleasanton) pays the same tax rate, which is 1.1372% for 2009-2010 (1% county plus interest and principal on bonds, etc.). It doesn't matter when they moved into their property. Someone in TRA 19-010 could have moved into their home 30 years ago and they still pay the same rate, 1.1372%, that someone who moved into their home yesterday does.
If I believed that Prop. 13 were unfair, then yes, I'd contradict myself.
And that's fair! All property owners within the same tax rate area paying the same tax rate.
Compare with a flat parcel tax. Let's use the $500/year figure from above. Someone in a $1MM home would pay a tax rate of 0.0005% on such a parcel tax. Someone in a $500,000 home would pay a tax rate of 0.001%, a higher rate than the other guy. So the guy who can afford the $1MM home gets a lower tax rate than the guy who couldn't afford such a home. That's the regressive nature of parcel taxes.
You think the cuts are bad this year wait until next year. The State got money from the Fed's thanks to the Stimulas bill. So next year there will be even less money. All the Stimulas bill did was postpone the necessary cuts. Good luck............
You need to admit when you make a mistake. You're not adjusting for inflation. You have to adjust for inflation. I don't see where your inflation adjustment shows up in anything you have written. Do you know what that means? Please try to see what I'm saying.
More money thrown at an unsustainable problem will not solve the problem. Palo Alto will learn this soon enough, unfunded public employee pensions are going the be the trainwreck that send this state spiraling out of control. As far as education specificaly, privatization, vouchers and a complete over haul of the system is needed, and no one has the courage or stomach for that.
I voted for the parcel tax but I don't have any ill feeling towards those who didn't. I don't believe they are being "selfish" they would vote for it if they thought this one last trip to the well would solve the problem, but they know the teachers and unions will be asking for another tax for the following year. Where will the hand outs end? How much more money can we throw at a problem without having a REAL solution?
" As far as education specificaly, privatization, vouchers and a complete over haul of the system is needed, and no one has the courage or stomach for that."
Palo Alto has excellent schools that top many private schools in quality and outcomes. People in Palo Alto have no desire for an privatization or vouchers.
"solve the problem"
"the problem" is a global recession originating mainly with Wall Street excesses in the derivatives markets.
"Where will the hand outs end?"
Agree we need to stop bailing out Wall Street put in place regulation to assure that trillion dollar bailouts won't happen again.
"How much more money can we throw at a problem"
Again, regulation, such as restoration of the Glass-Steagall act, the uptick rule, and financial regulations is what is needed to solve that problem.
"a reader" wrote: "You're not adjusting for inflation. You have to adjust for inflation."
Really bizarre why you'd demand such a thing when inflation plays no role in a discussion about the tax rate. What you're referring to is the rate by which the assessed value can increase. You keep claiming that only long-term homeowners benefit from this. That is not true. All property owners benefit from Prop. 13's cap on the rate that assessed value can increase. That's fair.
And buyers do benefit from Prop. 13 by having such future costs known up front!
Here's something that's unfair about Prop. 13. It isn't something unfair about how the tax is structured (i.e., a uniform 1% of property value, assessed value capped at 2% increases), but the way that re-assessments are triggered.
"Commercial property is able to exploit huge loopholes in the law to avoid reassessment upon change in ownership."
"Really bizarre why you'd demand such a thing when inflation plays no role in a discussion about the tax rate. "
Yes you have to adjust for inflation when you talk about the ongoing cost of taxes as time passes. Because the value of a dollar decreases as time passes, the effective tax drops. You are paying a smaller and smaller percentage of the purchase price as time passes. The purchase price is not adjusted for inflation, but the value of the dollar is. It is a common mistake.
"You forget that homeowners prior to Prop. 13 saw upwards of 50% increase in their property taxes. So someone paying $10,000 on their million dollar home today would _in one year_ owe $20,000!"
I still don't get the point of that statement. Are you implying that because Prop 13 solved that problem that it didn't create others? Why cap increases at 2% rather that average long term rate of inflation?
Please give up trying to figure out additional things belonging to other people you can tax. Let's work on putting people in California back to work and getting industry back in this state so we can get the economy moving. In the meantime, we need to cut spending and live within what we have to work with currently rather than the past when we had industry and a thriving economy. We can make California great again and not the laughingstock it currently is by electing intelligent people to office.
"electing intelligent people to office."
I agree with that.
I don't think local parcel taxes are driving any industries out of the state. They are very specific taxes used for local purposes. I think other taxes and regulation on business are causing companies to leave the state.
"Commercial property is able to exploit huge loopholes in the law to avoid reassessment upon change in ownership."
I agree that that is another problem that needs to be fixed.
A reader wrote: "Yes you have to adjust for inflation when you talk about the ongoing cost of taxes as time passes."
Yes, I'd have to, if that were what I was talking about, but it isn't.
It's called a straw man argument. You write a hypothetical argument, attribute it to me, then knock it down. Tada! You win your own debate!
No straw man here. Your effective tax RATE goes down as time passes if the amount you pay is not adjusted for inflation. It is a common mistake to think otherwise, but it is a mistake.
Let me show you by example. Say you bought a house in 1970 for $50,000, and your tax rate was 1%. You would owe $500 a year in 1970 dollars. Now fast forward to 2010. If you are still paying $500 of taxes a year on that house, you are paying with inflated dollars. But $500 today has the same buying power as $89.15 in 1970. So your tax rate today is more than 10 times less than it was one you bought the house, once you have adjusted the amount you pay for inflation.
Here is a calculator to for finding the buying power of a dollar in different time periods.
Your example is not valid. No one pays the same amount every year. In most years, the amount increases.
Here's a real simple example using the CPI Inflation Calculator website provided above that anyone can do. Take the amount of taxes you just finished paying for your property. Plug that into the first box and set the year to 2010 (or even 2009). Now calculate how much that is in dollars for the year you purchased your house. Is the number less than or more than the amount you paid in property tax that first year?
This assumes that you purchased your home quite a number of years ago before the bubble and haven't had your property's assessment lowered due to the property value dropping lower than the assessed value.
BTW, I defined what I'm talking about with "tax rate" using the Alameda County Assessor's glossary. You want to talk about something else that you call effective tax rate. My effective tax rate on my income is much lower after I take all my deductions. I've never heard of using inflation as an offset to determine my effective tax rate. The effective tax rate on my property is actually higher than the tax rate because there's a bunch of special assessments on the bill.
Oh sorry, forgot the homeowner's exemption! The tax rate is 1.1372% but the effective tax rate after homeowner's exemption and special assessments is 1.1337%
This chart shows the average US inflation for each decade. So from 1980 to 1989 it was 5.55%. From 1990 to 1999, the inflation average was 3%. From 2000-2007 it was 2.78%. If someone bought a home in the 80s, the amount of their assessments increase didn't keep up very well. If they bought in this past decade, the amount of their assessment increases almost kept up.
Nothing close to "10 times less".
Just been thinking more on this...
Here's another way to look at it. This example illustrates how California's speculative real estate market can outpace inflation adjustments on property (which leads to why yearly market-based assessments create windfall revenue for government).
Using the hypothetical 1970 house purchased for $50,000, in today's dollars that would be $280,452.32. What home could be bought in Pleasanton for that low low price?
"Nothing close to "10 times less"."
Of course not. It was just an illustration.
"Your example is not valid. No one pays the same amount every year. In most years, the amount increases"
The problem is that prop 13 caps increase at 2% per year, which is well below the average rate of inflation. Many years the increase is below 2%, but inflation is not. That is the whole problem. The percentage you pay today of the original purchase price is considerably less than the original because of the inflated dollars you are using today. The cap built in to Prop 13 causes this. It artificially biases the market. It is an unfair tax.
Unfair against whom? All property owners benefit from the 2% cap. It can't be said to be unfair because it applies equally to all property owners.
Unfair to people who move into a new home after 10 years rather than staying put.
Does that mean I'm trapped in this town forever?
"Does that mean I'm trapped in this town forever?"
That is a scary thought. I think there was a Twilight Zone episode.
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