Pressure Mounts for Property Tax Relief

Reprinted with permission of Jon Coupal, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
From many corners, California politicians and tax officials are under increasing pressure to extend the current April 10 deadline for paying property tax bills.
The request is not unreasonable and there are many ways that government can assist homeowners who are under threat of hefty penalties or tax foreclosures.
To date, our political leaders have been responsive to those suffering from the economic shock due to the COVID-19 virus. Many California localities have passed emergency laws against evictions and the state, via Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive authority, has ramped up special protections for small businesses and extended the tax filing deadlines for income taxes. These actions are justified.
But homeowners are hurting, too, because of the pending due date for the second installment of property taxes.
Editorials, including from Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) and Ventura County Taxpayers Association (VCTA), have called for action as have a number of government officials.
Board of Equalization Chairman Tony Vazquez sent a letter to Gov. Newsom on behalf of the BOE and county assessors, requesting the governor’s assistance in granting BOE the authority to grant additional time extensions for certain propertytax filing deadlines. Fresno County Assessor Paul Dictos argued that an executive order from the governor could allow them to take steps to provide relief.
But most California local officials are balking at the idea of an executive order. We can’t help but note the hypocrisy of local government interests opposing relief for taxpayers when they have been lobbying the governor for relief by executive order, including waiving provisions of the Brown Act, which mandates transparency in government meetings.
Gov. Newsom should issue an executive order granting homeowners some form of emergency relief. As a weak alternative, treasurer/tax collectors should come up with a uniform process by which all 58 counties agree to abide.
Specifically, late fees and penalties should be waived until July 15 for all homeowners, or at a minimum for seniors over the age of 65 and those who can demonstrate that they lost their jobs before April 10.
Without some sort of clear, unambiguous directive from the governor or firm guidelines from California’s 58 tax collectors, property owners applying for relief from penalties are left to the unpredictable whims of county officials.
California’s beleaguered homeowners deserve better.
Reprinted with the permission of Jon Coupal, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association 
The Ventura County Taxpayer Association is made up people who recognize the importance of government to our communities. Government should be efficient, effective and always transparent. If you would like to support our efforts, please click here to go to our website and join us . Thank you. 

About the Ventura County Taxpayers Association (VCTA)
The Ventura County Taxpayer’s Association (VCTA) is a non-partisan 501(C)(4) organization emphasizing issues that affect Ventura County. We inform taxpayers, promote the wise use of public funds, oppose waste, advise public officials regarding issues of concern to taxpayers and recommend positions that will best serve the taxpayers’ interests. VCTA has been looking out for the interests of taxpayers in Ventura County since 1954 – over 60 years. VCTA believes in efficient, effective and transparent government.

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