The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously June 14 to maintain Proposition 90, the property-tax benefit for seniors and the disabled wishing to relocate to the county.
Under Proposition 90, the county allows seniors over 55 and the severely disabled to purchase a primary residence of equal or lesser value and move into the county while transferring their assessed value for property-tax purposes from their original residence. These are the same rights allowed under Proposition 60 and 110, but Proposition 90 allows the transfer across county lines. Santa Clara County is one of eight Proposition 90 counties in the state.
County Assessor Larry Stone requested that supervisors eliminate Proposition 90 as a way to increase revenue, but realtors and seniors objected to the proposal. More than 50 members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors and the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the proposition.
The realtors touted the benefits of Proposition 90, recounting personal experiences with seniors and disabled clients who benefited from the measure, and who otherwise might not have been able to move to the county had the proposition not been in place. The realtors said their clients were able to move closer to family, medical services and jobs, when otherwise they would have been locked in to their previous residences due to the significant property-tax increase incurred in moving.
Realtor Penelope Huang noted that Proposition 90 was a “two-way street” because it created opportunities for the original properties to be reassessed at a higher rate, while providing a significant benefit in improving the quality of life for homeowners.
Stone questioned the supervisors’ hesitance in what he saw as “an obvious source of revenue” for the county. Realtors at the meeting indicated that the increase the Assessor’s office projects is an estimated $150,000, which would not be realized until 2013. They said the increase did not justify rescinding the proposition.
Supervisor Liz Kniss said the county made the decision to “opt in” Proposition 90 20 years ago and should remain an opted-in county.
“There is value to (Proposition 90) at the personal level,” Supervisor Ken Yeager said. “We supported it then, we should support it now.”