New Prop. 19 property tax measure can prevent cash – Orange County Register

Most California homeowners have likely heard of Proposition 19, the new property tax law that allows senior citizens and disabled homeowners to keep their current property tax rate when they sell their home and buy a new one. But they may not know how to apply this new law when moving to a new home.

It is the largest expansion of the state’s property tax breaks in decades that basically allows qualified homeowners to take their Prop. 13 tax base with them anywhere in the state, regardless of the price of their new home.

According to sentence 13, tax increases are limited to 2% per year, ie the longer you own your own home, the lower your property taxes are in relation to the market value of your residence. But for most homeowners, if they sell their old home and see their new tax rise to the full market value of their new home, they lose their Prop. 13 tax break.

Voters approved Prop. 19 in November, and the law came into effect on April 1st.

If you are 55 years of age or older, someone with a severe disability, or a victim of a forest fire or natural disaster, you can move to any home in the state regardless of the price of the home. Your tax will remain unchanged until the value of your old home. If your new home costs more than your old one, you will pay an additional amount based on the market value of your old home.

With this big seller, a smaller home doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less expensive.

As a real estate agent, I have worked with clients who were concerned about property tax increases if they downsize their family home, sold it to size, moved to another part of the state, or moved closer to family or healthcare facilities.

If you’re used to low property taxes, it can be a shock to your monthly expenses if buying a replacement home includes a huge hike in property tax – especially if you’ve lived in your current home for many years.

Some older homeowners feel trapped because they cannot leave their current home even if it no longer meets their needs, because they have a steady income and cannot afford to move.

Taking advantage of Prop. 19 can be daunting. But over time, more and more tax auditors are providing links to forms and resources online to help homeowners understand how this new law can benefit them.

Here are some of them:

Also, seek help from a qualified tax professional or attorney.

Not all counties are created equal, and with each new law many questions arise about how the law applies to each person’s situation.

Moving into a home after your children move out shouldn’t mean a huge new property tax bill. Do your research so that you can use your money for your future instead of paying more property taxes.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is a RealtyOne Group West real estate agent and a board member of the California Association of Realtors. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or

Santa Ana will spend federal pandemic cash on a number of fronts, together with a memorial for COVID-19 victims – Orange County Register

Santa Ana is spending $ 80 million on the first phase of a major pandemic recovery plan that could boost the city’s economy by distributing federal funds to residents, businesses, and nonprofits and launching several long-term projects, such as new open spaces , expanded public libraries, and Orange County’s first memorial to people who have died of COVID-19.

The plan, which was approved late Tuesday, called Revive Santa Ana, would send food vouchers to people living in the hardest hit neighborhoods, create new programs for young children, and upgrade some community centers. In addition, the city is planning new recreational opportunities, including a winter ice rink near the Civic Center that will serve as a roller skating rink in the warmer months.

And in what is possibly the most comprehensive pandemic relief plan unveiled in Orange County to date, Santa Ana will also look into setting up its own Department of Health.

These are just a few of the items funded primarily from the first part of $ 128 million that the city received under the U.S. bailout bill, approved by Congress earlier this year. The second half comes next year. Other funding – approximately $ 32.1 million – comes from federal housing and rental grants.

The city administration described their plan as a unique opportunity.

“We are all very blessed. Other municipalities do not have the opportunity to do so, ”said Mayor Vicente Sarmiento. “And we deliver it to the families who need it most.”

Many details still have to be ironed out. For example, the council has allocated $ 4 million to help some residents with local stimulus checks but has not yet decided which census area is eligible. Likewise, the city has not set the amount for the “basic income” checks.

How created that Spending plan breaks down into five categories:

• $ 5.4 million under a bucket called “Recovery from the pandemic“That includes $ 2 million for digital signs in parks, information kiosks, and a translation subscription service, $ 1 million for community mental health services, and $ 200,000 for a feasibility study to investigate the pros and cons of setting up a Santa Ana Health Department, which could help the city rely less on the Orange County Health Care Agency.

• $ 26.8 million in direct assistance programs. That includes $ 14 million in case of emergency Rental assistance – which lasted during the Santa Ana pandemic – and $ 3 million to help troubled small businesses and nonprofits. (Some of the money in this category comes from other sources.)

• $ 16.35 million for health and safety. This includes $ 7.8 million for the expansion of open spaces and parks, $ 3 million for a pedestrian protection project on First Street and Grand Avenue, and $ 1 million for a central farmers market and new community gardens.

• $ 21.25 million for critical infrastructure. This includes $ 7 million for “Central Library Remodeling Including Focus on Early Childhood Education Activities”; $ 3.5 million to investigate and address broadband deficiencies in the city and $ 1.5 million to modernize six community centers: Corbin, Logan, El Salvador, Sandpointe, Santa Anita and Delhi.

• $ 10.18 million to support the city’s public finances. Most of the money in this category – nearly $ 9 million – would go into the city’s reserve to offset hotel and business tax revenues lost during the pandemic

The rescue plan funds are intended to support measures to respond to COVID-19, replace lost revenue, support economic stabilization of households and businesses, and “address systemic public health and economic challenges that have contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic “, So a. Employees report.

The funds give local governments “significant flexibility” to meet local needs, including “support for households, small businesses, affected industries, key workers and the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. These funds can be used, among other things, to make necessary investments in the water, sewer and broadband infrastructure, ”says an employee report from the city.

Santa Ana spokesman Paul Eakins said the planned spending was in line with guidelines for the funds. City officials, he said, are taking a comprehensive approach to improving the community’s health needs by looking at the bigger picture of Santa Ana, one of the densest cities in the country and also hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic.

“The idea behind many of these is that they address health and economic needs,” Eakins said, referring to the variety of elements in the plan. “It’s not just about responding to the pandemic in a reactionary manner. It addresses the more general issues raised and made clear during the pandemic, such as lack of access to green spaces, health care and internet, or being able to stay safe at night in a neighborhood – many issues that ultimately affect people’s health and makes them more prone to things like a pandemic.

“There’s the economic part too,” added Eakins. “Anything we can do to make companies easier to do business and more accessible to the public will have economic benefits.”

Councilor Phil Bacerra said Wednesday that the priorities defined by Revive Santa Ana are linked to COVID-19. Santa Ana has few parks, so “any opportunity to add parking space or improve the parking space we have is absolutely related to Covid,” he said. And improvements in broadband, Bacerra added, will be highlighted in the new plan after learning during the pandemic that the city “did not have adequate infrastructure to help our children (with online learning)”.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana appears to be the first in Orange County to provide money – $ 200,000 – for a kind of memorial to honor those who died of the virus.

“Over 800 residents in Santa Ana lost their lives to COVID-19. And that number has increased in the last few weeks, ”said Councilor David Penaloza.

“I know seven personally, whether they are close relatives or friends of my family, who have died of COVID-19.

“Because Santa Ana was hit so hard, it warrants a memorial,” added Penaloza. “We need something that gives families a place to mourn and remember loved ones. You deserve it.”

Brookings Register | Tears, politics and cash: Faculty boards turn out to be battle zones

RAPID CITY (AP) – Local school authorities across the country are increasingly becoming cauldrons of anger and political division, simmering disputes over issues such as COVID-19 mask rules, the treatment of transgender students, and the teaching of the history of racism and slavery in America.

Meetings that were once neat, even boring, have become ugly. School board elections, once unchallenged, have drawn a list of candidates who have been stimulated by one issue or another.

A school committee meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia in June that looked at transgender students and teaching “critical racial theory” became so unruly that one person was arrested for misconduct and another charged with trespassing.

In Rapid City, South Dakota and Kalispell, Montana, non-partisan school board races turned into political warfare when Conservative candidates, angry at school mask requirements, tried to take control.

In Pennsylvania, a Republican donor plans to invest $ 500,000 in school board races.

“We are in a culture war,” said Jeff Holbrook, director of the Rapid City GOP in Pennington County.

In the South Carolina’s school system in Lexington-Richland, a new majority of board members angry at pandemic restrictions forced headmistress Christina Melton, who had urged maintaining mask compulsory through the end of the academic year. Just a few weeks earlier, she had been named State Inspector of the Year.

Melton burst into tears at a meeting in June when she offered to resign. A board member also resigned that day, complaining that behind closed doors the corporation had decided to oust Melton from office and avoid a public vote. The board reprimanded the resigned member in its next meeting.

“Now we are known as the district with the crazy school board,” says Tifani Moore, mother of three and husband who teaches in the district.

Moore is running for the vacant board seat and pledges to bridge the political divide that she believes has crippled the board.

“It’s so thick, even the kids can feel it,” she said.

School boards are typically made up of former educators and parents whose job, at least until recently, was mainly to iron out budgets, discuss the lunch menu, or hire superintendents.

But online meetings during the pandemic made it easier for parents to get into the mood. And the crisis gave new weight to the decisions of the school board. Parents feared their children would fall behind because of distance learning or argued about the seriousness of the health risks.

“I kept seeing frustrated parents, thousands of parents calling their board meetings, writing letters, and getting no response,” said Clarice Schillinger, a Pennsylvania parent who started a group called Keeping Kids in School.

She recruited nearly 100 parents to run for school councils across Pennsylvania in November. While the group banded together to push for schools to be fully opened, its candidates have also tried to ban the teaching of critical racial theory, which, among other things, states that racism is anchored in American laws and institutions

Schillinger said the group was 70-30 split between Republicans and Democrats. But its priorities are unmistakably conservative. She said she was trying to counter the influence of teachers’ unions on school authorities: “It’s really less government – that’s what matters.”

Paul Martino, a venture capitalist who donates to Republican candidates and has pledged half a million dollars to the movement and the creation of a statewide political action committee, said the new PAC will support candidates who are committed to keeping schools open no matter what , “Even if” there will be the dreaded increase in COVID in autumn. “

Conservative lists of candidates from other parts of the country are also targeting school authorities.

In Rapid City, four newly elected school board members will hold a majority vote on the seven-member body that oversees the education of around 14,000 students. In an area where Trump flags are still flying, the four candidates for the normally impartial board of directors in the June elections have secured support from the local GOP.

In previous elections, the seats on the board of directors were often filled in unchallenged elections. But this year the campaigns turned into political battles with personal attacks.

Critical racial theory is not part of the Rapid City school curriculum. But that didn’t stop the candidates from making it a central theme of the campaign.

“I believe with all my heart that this is how they will bring socialism and Marxism into our schools,” said newly elected member Deb Baker at a campaign rally.

Curt Pochardt, who was deposed as school council president in the election, said he feared the new partisan dynamic will affect the education of students.

“It doesn’t help children when there is tension in a school board,” he said.

Education experts warn that school authorities are wasting time addressing issues such as hiring teachers, ensuring internet access for students at home, or improving opportunities for youth with disabilities.

“Every time we don’t talk about these issues and we talk about something else that divides and maybe doesn’t happen at all – or at least not to the extent that it’s portrayed – a missed opportunity is focused on what we really need said Chip Slaven, chief advocacy officer for the National School Boards Association.

In Kalispell, a defeated school authority candidate who campaigned against mask mandates made it clear that he is not finished yet.

“I am the barbed thorn of the jumping cholla cactus,” Sean Pandina told the board in May. “I am the cholla in your flesh that you cannot remove. I feel good about losing the election because I’m tied up and not leaving. “


Associate press reporters Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina and Iris Samuels in Helena, Montana contributed. Samuels is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a not-for-profit national utility that places journalists on local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.

Earmarks are again, bringing cash and old-school politics to Orange County – Orange County Register

Projects that tackle homelessness, traffic congestion, fire safety and a range of other issues in Orange County could get up to $107 million in federal funding this year as local House members take part in a revived version of the controversial Congressional program known as earmarks.

The once traditional spending routine — in which Congress members seek money for specific projects, almost always in their districts — had been shelved for a decade in the wake of bipartisan complaints about fairness and abuse. But the process has been revived this year by House Democrats who argue that, with new safeguards in place, it will be particularly helpful for projects that have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it turns out earmarks are pretty popular. Three quarters of all House members, including more than half of all Republicans, have requested funds for projects in their districts through what the Appropriations Committee has re-branded as the “community project funding” program.

Democratic Rep. Lou Correa of CA-46, for example, is seeking money to expand a Tustin veterans center and to improve parks in Anaheim, Orange and Garden Grove. And GOP Rep. Young Kim of CA-39 wants money to bolster firefighting efforts in Yorba Linda and to help the county build a new mental health facility.

Similar requests are common in most of the rest of the county — with some key exceptions. People living in much of coastal and eastern Orange County won’t get any of those federal funds, at least not through earmarks. Their representatives in the House, GOP Rep. Michelle Steel in CA-48 and Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of CA-45, are refusing to submit earmark requests over similar philosophical objections.

Porter is the only Democrat in the country who isn’t using the program. She argues the executive branch should make independent decisions about how to dole out funds, saying the national interest should outweigh the interest of any individual House member.

“Congress members should not be the ones directing funds to specific projects,” said Porter’s spokesman Jordan Wong. “That is the job of the executive branch, according to our system of separation of powers.”

Steel was among 101 out of 211 Republicans who didn’t request earmarks for projects in her district. Her spokeswoman Danielle Stewart said Steel is “working hard to help the community through the normal funding process,” which includes other appropriations requests, one-on-one meetings with appropriations leaders, and trying to get local money, rather than federal funding, for local projects.

Supporters will say Porter and Steel — who usually are on opposite ends of the political spectrum in terms of how they vote in Congress — are standing by principle even if it costs them political capital. Pork, after all, is a time-honored path to getting re-elected.

Detractors will say both representatives — Porter, in theory, for idealism, and Steel, in theory, for party loyalty — are putting personal ideology ahead of helping their constituents get federal dollars.

It remains to be seen if their stances will help or hurt them them in the 2022 elections, when both representatives are expected to seek re-election in targeted, purple districts.

Meanwhile, their House colleagues who did request earmark funding should start to find out incoming weeks which projects will get money. And with three quarters of House asking for funding, some experts hope the revived process might bring more bipartisan support to this year’s federal budget, since it’s tough for Republicans — the party that has threatened to kill appropriations bills in recent years — to vote against money for their pet projects.

“I don’t think this is going to be a silver bullet,” said Laura Blessing, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute who studies budgetary politics.

“But earmarks grease the wheels in a way that helps make us less gridlocked.”

How earmarks work

In the federal government’s regular spending process, Congress allocates money to a broad category of spending, such as highway repairs. Then the relevant executive branch agency, such as the Highway Trust Fund, allocates funding to specific projects, usually after ranking each project based on the greatest need.

In the earmarks process, individual members of Congress can bypass the federal rankings and evaluations and simply ask for a specific amount of money for a specific local project.

Earmarks aren’t new. The appropriations bill of 1789, signed by then President George Washington, included funds earmarked for a light house in Cape Henry, Virginia.

For the next two-plus centuries Congress members of all political stripes used earmarks, typically behind closed doors and mostly to fund projects that might struggle to get recognized in the regular spending process. Critics occasionally pushed back, but support for earmarks generally remained high. Voters got local projects (and, often, local jobs), and their Congress members got credit for making it happen. 

Then, in the 1990s into the early 2000s, this so-called pork barrel type of spending increased (though Blessing notes it always remained less than 1% of the $1.4 trillion in annual discretionary spending). In 2005, there were two high-profile earmark fails — the so-called “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska and an admission by San Diego area Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham that he’d accepted at least $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for using earmarks to benefit defense contractors.

In 2007, Congress introduced reforms that required members to disclose what projects they were seeking to fund and state that neither they nor their spouses had financial ties to the project. But opposition to the process continued to build, and with Tea Party Republicans and President Barack Obama leading the charge, earmark appropriations were banned in 2011.

Even with new safeguards aimed at curbing abuse, Lee Ohanian, an economics professor at UCLA, said there are objections to taxpayers around the country paying for a local project that might benefit a very small number of people. He cited a $5,000 earmark request by Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., to fund a “Secret Santa for Seniors” program as an example.

“It’s hard to support it from an economic perspective,” Ohanian said. With exceptions for very poor communities, where federal funding can have a high return on investment for everyone, he added that it makes economic sense for local communities to fund local projects. “We shouldn’t be asking others to pay for them.”

For several years, President Donald Trump (who pardoned Cunningham) and Congress members from both parties pushed to revive earmarks, but their efforts fizzled.

Then, in February, House Democrats announced they were officially resurrecting the process, though only with restrictions. Under the new rules lawmakers can make no more than 10 funding requests per year, money can’t go to for-profit companies or organizations, and House members have to submit evidence that there is community support for the project they’d like to fund. Also, the House can conduct random audits of expenses related to any project.

House members had until April 30 to submit requests, with some extensions possible. As of late May, 327 of 430 House members had requested earmark funds.

In June, those requests will go to the appropriate subcommittee or committee for review before being included in an appropriations bill, which will come back to Congress for a vote. If it passes, that bill would go to President Joe Biden for final approval.

Blessing and others say it’s no coincidence that Congress hasn’t approved appropriations bills since earmarks went away 10 years ago. Without earmarks, she said, there are few incentives for lawmakers to cross the aisle to get support for projects that can have real impacts in their communities.

Blessing hopes the revival of earmarks might dial down the rhetoric both during the budget process and in the coming election campaign.

“I don’t want the contest to be who can oppose the other party more and say the nastiest things about them,” she said. “I would much rather have a match-up where they can say, ‘I actually got some bills passed this Congress and I got you a bridge. Isn’t that nice?’”

Wish lists

When it comes to bragging rights for bringing home federal dollars, Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, is seeking the largest possible haul among Orange County representatives, with more than $45 million in earmark requests.

A whopping $30 million is for one request: to help the Army Corps of Engineers replenish sand along beaches in Encinitas and Solana Beach. A majority of Levin’s requests are for projects in the north San Diego County portion of his narrowly blue 49th District, including adding cameras to Oceanside Police Department vehicles, building a new homeless center in Oceanside and building a hydrogen fueling station to power electric city buses. Levin also requested $1.87 million to add bike lanes, landscaping and sidewalks, and improve improve roadways, in Dana Point’s Doheny Village area.

Next up is Kim, who was among 110 Republicans who did request earmarks despite GOP caucus opposition.

Kim asked for nearly $23 million in earmarks for projects in CA-39, which leans narrowly blue and includes portions of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Her requests are spread throughout the district, including $5 million for an overpass over railroad tracks along Turnbull Canyon road in Hacienda Heights and City of Industry, creating more fire-defensible space around homes in Chino Hills, and funding the North Orange County Public Safety Task Force, which brings together police chiefs and community organizations from 10 cities to reduce gang violence and address homelessness.

Correa requested $16 million in earmarks for his solidly blue 46th District. Requests include $314,000 to help Children’s Hospital of Orange County expand mental health services, $1 million to help Chapman University expand mapping capabilities at its Earth Systems Science and Data Solutions Lab, and $2 million to help Discovery Cube Orange County buy land in Santa Ana for a planned festival space.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, asked for $12 million in earmarks for his deep blue 47th District, which straddles Orange and Los Angeles counties and includes Catalina Island. The largest request is $4.7 million for sand replenishment and seawall repair at beaches in Avalon on Catalina. Other requests focus on education, health care and veterans programs in south Los Angeles County, plus $850,000 to build a new “parkette” in Stanton.

Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Whittier, submitted nearly $10 million in earmark requests largely to upgrade parks and other community facilities throughout the 38th District, which is also solidly blue and primarily in Los Angeles County but includes a sliver of Orange County. She also requested $2 million to add drought-tolerant landscaping on median islands throughout La Palma.

Many of the projects championed by local lawmakers align with causes close to their hearts. Levin’s wish list focuses largely on projects aimed at combating climate change, for example, while Lowenthal, a former professor, has a number of projects focused on education.

The goal, Blessing said, is for lawmakers to pitch projects they’ve vetted, that they believe will have a real impact on their communities, and that stand a realistic chance of getting built.

In practice, of course, representatives also always have an eye to reelection, Ohanian noted. But it was a bit tougher for them to target particular communities of voters with this round of earmarks because district boundaries will be redrawn before the next election.

So far, there hasn’t been much in the way of conservative blowback for earmark requests, likely because half of the Republican delegation — including several in targeted seats, such as Kim — are in that camp.

Steel and Kim’s opposite stances on this issue shows how the long-time friends who took office together in January as two of the first Korean American women in Congress continue to differentiate themselves, as Steel increasingly sides with the more conservative GOP faction while Kim continues brandishing her credentials as a moderate Republican.

While Porter may have left dollars for her district on the table, Ohanian said he doesn’t think her vocal objection to earmarks is likely to hurt her politically. The stance is in line with the brand she’s built, which is about continually pushing for fiscal oversight. She isn’t likely to attract a major Democratic challenger or to face a Republican challenger anxious to use this position against her. Plus, her opposition to earmark spending makes it harder for the GOP to continue to paint her as always standing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But Blessing said you never can tell how these issues will play out come election time.

“It’s a game, and the game isn’t played yet.”