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No senior exemption on bond measures

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, August 13th, 2010 at 2:11 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

By Theresa Harrington
After the passage of the Mt. Diablo school district’s $348 million Measure C bond, I was contacted by a senior citizen who asked how she could apply for a senior exemption. The answer is: she can’t.
Bond measures legally cannot offer senior exemptions, said Jon Isom, the district’s financial consultant. The district’s failed May 2009 parcel tax, on the other hand, did offer a senior exemption.
Isom said seniors tend to get a built-in break on bond measures, since the tax is based on their property’s assessed value.
“There’s almost a defacto exemption in the sense that because of Proposition 13, senior citizens generally have much lower assessed property values, so what they pay is far less,” Isom said. “I’m sure there are a lot of seniors whose assessed value is less than $100,000.”
Parcel taxes are flat payments, which are the same for most pieces of property, no matter how much they’re worth.
The Mt. Diablo tax rate is $60 per $100,000 in assessed value for both its 2002 and 2010 Measure C bonds combined. This means a taxpayer whose home is valued at $200,000 would pay $120.
The amount paid will vary over the term of the bond, which could stretch 42 years. As property values rise, so will the tax payments.
Parcel tax payments remain the same for the duration approved by voters.
Do you agree with the law, which allows senior exemptions for parcel taxes, but not for bond measures?

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