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Alternatives to EE

A number of EE proponents have been quoted as saying a parcel tax is the only means available to raise school funds. This is not true. “Special taxes” such as a sales tax, ad valorem taxes, Mello-Roos taxing, developer fees and a variety of parcel tax configurations are available to school districts. Suggesting that a parcel tax as measure EE is written is the only answer also is not correct.

Parcel taxes come in many forms. Berkeley, Davis, Palo Alto, Piedmont, Albany and other school districts have written many different features into their tax measures, which are widely considered to be more equitable than the proposed measure EE. Berkeley, for example, taxes the structures on the parcel. It has a 4.5 cents per square foot tax on residential structures and a slightly higher amount on commercial structures. In Berkeley, a 1,000 square foot home or condo would be taxed $45, not the $300 per annum tax of EE. One of Santa Monica’s oft vilified luxury hotels, at say 50,000 square feet, would pay $2,500, not $300 as proposed in EE. The Albany School District differentiates residential from commercial and uses a square foot formula with a minimum tax for all.

Davis Unified taxes per dwelling unit, but lessens the tax for apartment units. If this idea were to be proposed in Santa Monica/Malibu it has the potential of raising more money than EE. There are 32,000 land parcels in our school district. BUT there are some 64,000 taxable entities if you tax per dwelling unit. Do the math-you can lower the tax, even the distribution and still come out on top.

Many school parcel taxes exempt seniors or those with low incomes. Many do not have yearly cost of living increases. Most districts have parcel taxes that last only four, five or six years for better accountability. EE will tax tenants in a wildly uneven manner. In a mobile home park with scores of units, tenants will pay cents a month, while a low income senior in a duplex will pay $12.50 per month.

Owners should pay particular attention because EE taxes property in a wildly uneven manner. A condo pays the same as a multi-acre mansion or even an undeveloped parcel. Voters should be aware that there are existing working models of school support taxation that work for the schools and work for the community.

Peter Tigler

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13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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