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California Property Tax Values Increasing

California’s county tax assessors are reporting sharp increases in valuations that will generate billions of new dollars for local governments and schools, according to the California Taxpayers Association.

Cal-Tax compiled data from a cross-section of counties that completed their tax rolls by this week’s deadline, indicating that while increases seem to be the largest in the booming San Francisco Bay Area, even the state’s poorer inland counties are seeing hikes in taxable values.

Californians pay more than $50 billion in property taxes each year in accordance with Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot measure that caps taxes at 1 percent of assessed value, plus repayment of bonds. Taxable values cannot be increased by more than 2 percent a year, but are upgraded to sales prices when properties change hands. New construction is also added to the tax rolls when completed.

The money goes to cities, counties, special districts and school districts, with the latter supplemented by state aid. Higher property tax revenues generally reduce what the state must send to schools under Proposition 98, the 1988 school finance law.

Among the counties surveyed by Cal-Tax, Santa Clara – the heart of Silicon Valley – had the biggest year-over-year increase, 8.67 percent or $31 billion, pushing its total to over $400 billion for the first time.

Strong gains also were recorded by Contra Costa (7.53 percent) and Marin (7.11 percent) counties. Southern California gains were less spectacular: 5.89 percent in Orange County, 5.6 percent in San Diego County and 4.1 percent in Ventura County.

Several inland California counties also recorded gains, including Tulare County at 5.1 percent and San Bernardino County at 5.08 percent.

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