Your June 16 article entitled "South Bay Cities Aim to End Up in the Black" implied that property owners living in cities such as Lawndale and Lomita do not pay property taxes. To the contrary, all property owners pay property taxes! I would like to, however, call to your attention a situation of inequity that exists today.
There are currently 30 California cities in which property taxes are collected but are not directly returned to the city of origin. These cities, prior to Proposition 13, did not levy a city property tax; consequently they were left out of the tax allocation formula created by the state Legislature after the passage of Proposition 13. The city of Carson is one of these "non-sharing" property tax cities and in effect we are subsidizing other local jurisdictions. All property owners (residential, commercial, etc.) pay the same tax rate (1% of assessed valuation).
Yes, as your article pointed out, South Bay cities will end up in the black for this year, but what about next year or the year after? Our city cannot share in any incremental tax increase resulting from new developments or when property is reassessed at the time of sale. Is it fair for 30 cities to be deprived of a stable source of revenue enjoyed by all other cities for the past seven years?
Senate Bill 1091, authored by Sen. William Campbell and co-sponsored by our Sen. Ralph Dills, in its original form, would provide 10% of the property tax revenue paid to the county be returned to these non-sharing property tax cities. A precedent was established last year when the Legislature passed a similar bill for the city of Yorba Linda. SB 1091 would mean several million dollars in revenue for Carson. Although recent amendments have been made to substantially reduce the amount, we are optimistic that the legislators in Sacramento are listening to us and will correct this inequity.
Cuts in federal revenue sharing and elimination of many federal and state programs place the burden directly on local government to maintain service levels and provide the money to carry on with a balanced budget. Certainly equitable treatment for all cities is a must.
VERA ROBLES DE WITT
Councilwoman, City of Carson