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Analysis Shows 70% of Alameda County Properties Have Proposition 13 Base Year Dates of 1991 or Later

An analysis of data provided in the 2010-11 Alameda County Tax Assessor annual report, conducted by Action Alameda News, shows that 70% of the parcels on the County’s 2010-11 tax roll have a Proposition 13 base year of 1991 or later. Those properties account for 89% of assessed real property value on the tax roll. Parcels for the city of Alameda are not broken out separately.

Proposition 13, approved by voters in 1978, rolled back property values and introduced a restriction on the annual increase of assessed property value in California (2%) and a limit on the tax rate on property (1% of assessed value.) Each property is assigned a “base year” valuation, upon which the annual 2% increase is based; base years for properties change when ownership of a property changes.

Property tax in California is an ad valorem tax, meaning that the amount of tax paid rises and falls with the value of the property. Earlier this year, the Alameda County Tax Assessor undertook an effort to pro-actively review and revise downward assessed property values in the County due to widespread property value declines in the wake of the recession. Within the city of Alameda, the local assessment roll fell 0.90%, from $9.410 billion on the 2009-10 roll, to $9.325 billion on the 2010-11 roll. The county assessed 24,792 parcels in Alameda.

Each year, the Alameda County Tax Assessor produces an annual report, which includes a table showing the breakdown of of the parcels and assessed value by base year.

The table below summarizes the base year valuation data provided by Alameda County, and also shows that 48% of the assessed parcels, representing 77% of the assessed value, have a Proposition 13 base year of 2000 or later.

Alameda County Proposition 13 Base Year Summary

Alameda County Proposition 13 Base Year Summary

Graph - Alameda County % of Total Assessment by Base Year

Alameda County % of Total Assessment by Base Year

9 comments to Analysis Shows 70% of Alameda County Properties Have Proposition 13 Base Year Dates of 1991 or Later

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ActionAlameda. ActionAlameda said: Post Edited: Analysis Shows 70% of Alameda County Properties Have Proposition 13 Base Year Dates of 1991 or Later […]

  • I think of at least 32 reasons that Prop 13 ain’t fair. Prop 13 must go. If can you think more reasons why Prop 13 discriminates against you, please contact me.

  • Which is it Mike? Is it the State of California that’s to blame for AUSD’s economic woes? Or Prop. 13? AUSD keeps blaming the State of California, but the State doesn’t get any money from property taxes – State revenue comes from income and sales tax.

    If you want to complain about Prop 13, then you’re not talking about the State funding problem. According to the most recent Alameda County Tax Assessors Annual Report, 41 cents of every local property tax dollar in Alameda County goes to schools, 18 cents goes to cities, special districts get 13 cents, the County gets 15 cents, and redevelopment agencies get 13 cents.

    Redevelopment agencies use that local property tax revenue to subsidize development projects, such as SunCal’s failed plan for Alameda Point, which Mike McMahon is on record supporting in a SunCal press release earlier this year. (

    Schools are funded first with local property tax dollars, and the State comes in and tops up the rest up to the revenue limit amount. When local elected officials like Mike McMahon come out in favor of massively subsidized redevelopment projects ($200 million for SunCal’s plan), they are effectively shooting their own students and school district in the foot, because it forces the State to come up with additional money from elsewhere to make up what electeds like Mike McMahon gave away to developers like SunCal. And when the State doesn’t have the extra revenue to make it up, electeds like Mike McMahon don’t take responsibility for their own actions – instead, they blame the State of California, and push for a local parcel tax to make up for what they gave away…

  • Proposition 13 prohibits the reassessment of any property except at the time of a change in ownership.

    In Los Angeles County, for example, single-family residences accounted for 39.9% of the tax roll, by value, in 1975, before Proposition 13. This year their share is 55.8%. In the same period, commercial-industrial property has gone from 46.6% of the tax roll to 30.9%. These figures are from the county assessor’s annual report, but a similar pattern holds statewide.

    What businesses dodge, of course, the homeowner pays. It’s fair to say that lots of well-off California businesses are making out like bandits at the homeowners’ expense.

  • BTW reporting facts not taking a position in case you are planning to use these posts as proof I am anti-Prop 13.

    So what is AA position on Prop 13? Good or bad for schools, counties and cities? I believe redevelopment funds did not exist prior to Prop 13 and were bought into existence in an attempt to keep dollars from going to Sacramento.

  • Mike – You’ve already answered your own question. What big business dodges through Prop 13, big business takes back through re-development. Total revenues to redevelopment agencies across the state in 2007-2008 were $10 billion, according to the State’s annual report. Revenue from property taxes was about $5.5 billion. Wouldn’t $5.5 billion go a long way to help California’s schools right now?

    It’s fair to say that a lot of developers like SunCal, Mike, to whom you lent your name for a press release, are making out like bandits at students’ and taxpayers’ expense.

    Redevelopment – tax increment financing – goes all the way back to the ’40s ’50s and urban renewal. The public policy institute report on redevelopment (

    What Do RDAs Do and Why Are They
    Redevelopment agencies were authorized by the state legislature in
    1945 to combat urban blight, and since then more than three-fourths of
    all the cities in California have established RDAs.

    The definition of
    blight is vague, allowing for a wide range of neighborhoods to be
    considered blighted. According to the law, a blighted area is supposed to
    be a “serious physical and economic burden on the community which
    cannot reasonably be expected to be reversed or alleviated by private
    enterprise or governmental action, or both, without redevelopment.”

  • Ed Hirshberg

    Proposition 13 is not the cause of the problem. My first job out of college in the seventies was helping hard working middle class Americans sell houses on which they could no longer afford the taxes, despite having no debt. They had retired on dollar denominated fixed income, and it lost its purchasing power after we went off the gold standard on 8-15-71. After selling their house they then had to pay capital gains taxes,and many moved to mobile homes and hoped God’s call would be timely. I have watched the price of homes go up 15 fold since I got my RE license. Who among us can afford to have our property taxes go up 15 fold? That would take mine to 90K per year.
    Ed H

  • Barb

    Prop 13 is not the problem. It is a school district that has too much plant for Alameda’s population. And rather than deal with that problem the way any for profit business or home owner would, AUSD prefers to demand more money from the masses to susidize its inept oversized management and low quality product. If you want good public schools, move to Piedmont. There everyone is proud to vote for parcel tax after parcel tax to support their schools. Piedmont’s school taxes (which are not cheap) routinely pass by 80% of the vote. It has one high school, one middle school and 3 elementary schools. It is supported by a strong majority. Not just people like Mayor Gilmore, who give it lip service, but send their kids to private schools. Isn’t it hypocritical to say our schools need this parcel tax to maintain the quality of education, while at the same time saying this school district isn’t good enough for my kids no matter how much money you pour into it? Or elected officials like former Assembly Whip Wilma Chan and Senate President Don Perata who claimed that education was one of their highest priorities when they held those offices. Two of the most powerful elected officials in the State for many years, and yet it took Alameda students and their parents to sue the State to try to end the unequal state school funding laws. Actions speak louder than words. People use words as tools to successfully manipulate the voters all the time; however their actions speak the real truth. We have a mediocre school system at best. It would be better off consolidating schools, firing a few principals, going charter wherever possible, then firing all of the redundant managers and dispensing with the School Board altogether.
    Many are losing homes and other property in Alameda because they can’t afford the mortgagees. Get your heads out of the sand. Open your eyes. Take a look at all the For Lease signs at Marina Village and elsewhere. The economy is still in a nose dive. Should people really have to lose their homes or livelihood so 12% of the households in town, can force the remaining 88% to support excess school plant and administration and low quality education?

  • Kurt O

    You know, this is an interesting analysis. That said, what I would like to know is what the current market value is for the 73k properties that have not been assessed since 1980. That would be telling. I get to look at the assessor map in another county nearby and if Alameda is similar, looking at who the tax burden was shifted too would be eye opening for some people.

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