Property Assessments at the Heart of Budget Cuts for Region
If you want to understand why local governments have laid off workers and struggled to maintain services, just look at property taxes.
In the past four years, Sacramento County real estate has lost $19 billion in assessed value, data from the Sacramento County assessor's office show.
That means that the county's secured tax roll now stands at $113.7 billion, down from $132.7 billion – the peak recorded in January 2008. And it translates to sharply reduced tax revenue for local governments, schools and special districts.
No place in the Sacramento region has been immune from the combined effects of the down economy and the loss in property values, though the story is less severe these days in El Dorado, Yolo and Placer counties.
The properties are being taxed under a California law that requires counties to reassess properties when market value falls below the assessed value.
In El Dorado County, 30 percent of all real property this year has attained similar status.
All other properties are taxed under Proposition 13, California's landmark tax reform measure passed in 1978. Proposition 13 sets a property's purchase price as the base value and allows that value to rise by the rate of inflation, up to 2 percent each year.
This tax cycle, the inflation factor is exactly 2 percent. That assessed value is then taxed at 1 percent.
And for El Dorado County, view your tax bill at www.edcgov.us/taxcollector