A proposal to rescind Proposition 90 has Santa Clara County realtors alarmed. The legislation, in effect for more than two decades, grants tax incentives to seniors and disabled homeowners when they buy a home in the county. County Assessor Larry Stone has challenged the legislation.
Under Propositions 60 and 110, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled when his or her original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base-year value of the home to a replacement primary residence of equal or lesser value within the same county, provided certain conditions are fulfilled.
Proposition 90 extended this benefit to seniors and the disabled who move to any county in the state that has adopted Proposition 90.
The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office wants the board of supervisors to eliminate the benefit and rescind Proposition 90 transfers as a way to increase revenue. Proponents said any increase would be slight, and realtors countered that a minimal increase in revenue would not outweigh the economic benefits the transactions brings to the county.
“Given the limited number of affected parcels, it is not a business or financial decision that motivates realtors to speak out on this issue,” said Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “The law provides an incentive for seniors to move into smaller, less expensive homes without being penalized.”
The legislation eases the property-tax burden that otherwise might prevent seniors from moving into smaller residences to be be closer to children and grandchildren who reside in Santa Clara County, said Lynn Grandi-Hill, a local resident whose parents moved from San Rafael to Willow Glen in 1989.
“It was wonderful having them close by. … My children got to see them more often than they would have had they stayed in San Rafael,” Grandi-Hill said. “As much as families can stay connected and together, Proposition 90 is a positive thing for society in general”
Realtors claim Proposition 90 counteracts the “lock-in effect” created by Proposition 13, which slowed the housing turnover and supply across the state.
“Proposition 90 helps seniors wanting to live in the county,” said Mike Sibilia, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. “By living here, they in turn help the county’s economy since they will buy their groceries here, shop here, buy their gas here. They are a positive economic influence.”
The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors contributed information for this article. For more information, contact Rose Meily at (408) 200-0109 or www.silvar.org.