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More Tax Reform: Distinctive Classes of Property for Parcel Taxes

Brian Leubitzbyline‚ Feb. 05‚ 2013

Freshman Assemblyman Rob Bonta looks to clarify 1980s legislation

It was the heady days of the mid-1980s, and Prop 13 was something not too distant in the rear view mirror. It was 1986 to be precise, and the Legislature passed some amendments to the Government codes to clarify the status of parcel taxes. Except that the clarification didn't quite actually clarify everything. For a few years, several areas, mostly in the Bay Area, had tax rates that varied by usage of the property. Under California tax code, property is assigned a classification, and school districts operated under the theory that if they charged taxes at the same rate within classifications, they were ok with Prop 13.

Except that a resident of the Alameda USD disagreed and filed suit against a 2008 parcel tax. He lost in the trial court, but won at the court of appeal level (for a few days anyway).