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Supervisors Approve Property Tax Incentive for Senior Citizens

The ordinance allows qualified senior citizen homeowners to transfer their property tax assessments from a residence in another county to a home in Riverside County.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to allow qualifying homeowners to transfer their property tax assessments from a residence in another county to a home in Riverside County as part of an effort to attract new residents with money to spend on local goods and services.

The supervisors approved an ordinance that codifies provisions of Proposition 90, approved by California voters in 1988, and Proposition 110, approved by voters two years later.

Prop. 90 permits homeowners 55 years and over to retain, when they move, the "factored base year" assessment that determines how much they pay annually in property taxes. According to the law, a property owner can relocate to another county, purchase a house there and pay the same amount of annual property taxes he or she was paying on the home sold in the original county, despite upgrading.

Prop. 110 affords the same treatment, only it applies exclusively to disabled homeowners.

Only eight counties in the state have ordinances that provide for inter-county transfers of property taxes. Riverside County had such an ordinance in place until 1995, when it was rescinded because of concerns over property tax losses.

Supervisors John Benoit and Kevin Jeffries, who jointly proposed re- implementing propositions 90 and 110, said having the provisions in place would attract more retirees to the region. The supervisors touted the potential collateral economic benefits.

During a public hearing on the ordinance last month, Inland Valley Association of Realtors' President Doug Shepherd cited studies showing that Prop. 90 could generate an additional $127 million in annual economic benefits and lead to 676 new jobs a year.

He said retailers and contractors would realize gains as new residents pay for home improvements, furnishings and other necessities.

"Thousands of new homes will be built, and there will be greater demand for them," Shepherd told the board, adding that Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties already have similar ordinances on their books.

Supervisor Jeff Stone spoke out against the proposed ordinance during meetings in May and June, arguing that the county stood to lose more than it might gain by sparing some home purchasers from paying taxes that reflect the actual market value of their properties.

During the board's July 30 meeting, however, Stone said he had changed his mind after learning that his paternal grandmother had moved to Riverside County in the early 1990s to take advantage of Prop. 90 benefits.

The new ordinance takes effect on Sept. 19.

—City News Service

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