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Supervisors to Discuss Clean Water Fee at Public Meeting

The fee would generate almost $300 million per year by charging parcel owners in L.A. County.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday to discuss a proposed county fee that would pay for clean water programs.

The Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure would impose an annual fee of about $54 on the average single-family owner, and $34 on the typical condo owner. About 90 percent of parcel owners would pay less than $100 a year, but commercial property owners could be liable for thousands of dollars. 

If the measure is approved, it would raise about $295 million for the county to cover costs associated with improving water quality and reducing stormwater pollution.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that L.A. County is not responsible for cleaning contaminated water before it is discharged into the ocean. Environmental groups had hoped that the Los Angeles County Flood Control District would be held liable for treating pollutants, such as copper, lead, cyanide and aluminum among others.

The Flood District estimates it spent about $340 million to control contaminants in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and the proposed fees would help to offset the cost. The $295 million would be split annually between the Flood District, nine watershed areas that manage clean-up projects and the cities in L.A. County.

The hearing will take place Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, located at 500 West Temple St. in Los Angeles.

Hans Laetz January 12, 2013 at 08:24 PM
That's exactly what this is all about, hellwood. Detention/recharge ponds, on-site recharge at parking lots, swales to cleanse freeway runoff, etc. It's all about diverting rainwater, cleaning it, and recharging the aquifer. These projects are relatively cheap, less costly than big centralized treatment plants. The alternative: http://www.cawrecycles.org/whats_new/recycling_news/oct24_100plasticbags_in_deadwhale
Hans Laetz January 12, 2013 at 08:28 PM
The commercial landowners have gotten a free ride in California because of Prop 13 and its myriad loopholes. Says the LA Times: "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 L.A. county assessor’s annual report, but a similar pattern holds statewide.” Don't whine to me about commercial property owners. They freely utilize legal loopholes to avoid getting their property reassessed to market value. And when that doesn't work, they went to (the now-jailed) John Noguez.
John Mazza January 12, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Don't believe the BS that commercial property owners should be taxed more. Most commercial rents are net net net which means the tenant pays and thus the customer pays. I know personally of one company with 260 employees that just moved to Arizona last year because of all the anti business taxes and fees in California.Many small businesses would not survive in this environment if they had to pick up more Prop 13 taxes. Just look at what happened in Malibu at the Malibu Village when some idiot overpaid for the property . The tenants got flushed out. Don't kill the job creators. Prop 13 put a limit of 1.25% on the amount of property tax you have to pay . Check out your tax bill . I bet it is not 1.25% of your assessed value. The politicians have just transferred the taxes to "fees"
Hans Laetz January 12, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Perhaps you should disclose that you are a commercial property owner, John. I am too, by the way. The "trickle down" economics of tax subsidies for the rich has just got to stop. And the huff-and-puff-and-move-to-Arizona gambit has been around since I was a little boy in the 1960s. The so-called job creators are being more and more subsidized in California by the residential property tax payers - both landlords and tenants. Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times: "Of all the ways in which California residents have slit their fiscal throats over the last 30 years, surely the most inexplicable is the bestowal of a gaping tax loophole on commercial and industrial property owners. The culprit, no surprise, is that 31-year-old wolf in sheep's clothing, Proposition 13, which prohibits the reassessment of any property except at the time of a change in ownership. A sale is a pretty straightforward transaction for a home. That's not the case for commercial or industrial property, where a sale can be disguised in an almost infinite number of ways. "The whole system is completely unenforceable," says Lenny Goldberg, a Sacramento lobbyist who, as director of the California Tax Reform Assn., has been pressing for years to institute a "split roll" -- that is, to tax commercial and industrial property differently from residential. The idea is to reverse what has been a shift in California's property tax burden onto homeowners from business owners under Proposition 13.
hellwood January 12, 2013 at 09:53 PM
then it would seem that a fair tax should be proportional to the runoff absorption rate of any given property ...and maybe exemptions for the enviro-conscious ones?
Hans Laetz January 12, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Agreed. But try getting that past the Chamber of Commerce, the Howard Jarvis people, etc. The people and their corporations (who are people my friend) who invested in commercial land years ago, and who "create jobs" by collecting the rent (an honorable profession, don't get me wrong),. would have a fit.
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM
(NBCLOSANGELES) — About 100,000 more people moved away from California in 2011 than relocated to the Golden State, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/massive-exodus-out-of-california/#PkLRq3wh51PVhLQE.99
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 12:25 AM
" For the past two decades, California has been sending more people to other American states than it receives from them. Since 1990, the state has lost nearly 3.4 million residents through this migration." http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_71.htm#.UPH-RvJtxm0
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 12:27 AM
(NBCLOSANGELES) — About 100,000 more people moved away from California in 2011 than relocated to the Golden State, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/massive-exodus-out-of-california/#WBg2dClXyJ7z043y.99
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Yes,I am a commercial property owner. All of my leases are net net net. Of twenty five tenants I would estimate seven would fail if I passed on new prop 13 tax bills to them. Sure the national tenants and the very strong tenants would survive but don't think for a minute that the smaller tenants could take the hit. This is not a good economy and everytime the government sucks taxes out of small businesses some die and more people are unemployed. On the housing side see how long you could keep your house when the government tries to inflate itself out of $16 trillion in debt and there is no prop 13 to protect you. Remember you are paying taxes on inflation. Your house does not get bigger. Before prop 13 the tax rate on houses had increased to almost 4% and people were not happy so they passed prop 13. Coulc you pay 4% on what your house is worth every year ? Perhaps the solution is to eliminate unnecessary government jobs. Have you ever been to city hall in the afternoon ?
Fred Reardon January 13, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Storm Water Recapturing I guess I'm all for it, as long as they have a real plan to clean up the aqueducts and stormwater management system and drastically reduce the amount of trash, debris, plastics, contaminates, etc. The comprehensive approach should develop a plan to recapture contaminated stormwater and convert it into usable water to address the water shortage. If we all get sick less, during the year, after going into the ocean, the costs be will worth it. I know the aquatic life in the Santa Monica Bay would appreciate it.
jim dangelo January 13, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Hans, this is not about Prop 13 it is about who actually causes the contamination which is not property owners. Now to address comm property Owners Prop 13 free ride. Please do not use the all emcumbering deceptive statement that is not true. I have purchased many comm prop and brokered 100s the last 31 ys and NOT 1 TIME has a property NOT been reassessed. the law reads the only time a property whether comm/industrial/residential may not be reassessed is if it is held in a corp, LP, LLC, etc and < than a 51% interset is sold. How rare that is, you said you own comm prop, did you buy a < 51% in a LLC with a stanger and was it reassessed? I have looked up 1,000s of comm properties over the last 31 yrs and 95% or more are owned by typical families/small businesses. Last year I bought 2 comm buildings from a fortune 500 Corp in our LLC and both prop in L.A. and Orange Co. were reassessed just like a residential property. you are being deceptive in saying comm prop as a catch all does not get reassessed. even if 4 partys buy a 25% interest each of a corp, LLC, LP interest it MUST be reported and the prop will be reassessed. you are trying to use deceptive language as a catch all in a manner that is not TRUE. are you looking for if 5%(not typical)is sold a 100% reassessed? W/respect to John Mazza we also pass any lower prop tax rates from older purchases to our tenant so they can pass a saving to the consumer. does all who makes > $250,k/yr have limos/lear jets "Obama quote"
Wendi Werner January 13, 2013 at 03:39 PM
This ordinance should require a periodic revaluation from the VOTERS to keep it going, not the board of supervisors who will have the total and only control to vote it up or down. The way this stands now, there is no true oversite because the members of the oversite board are appointed by the board of supervisors. The amount of money needed (300 hundred million ) was based upon, in part, but substantially from the requirement that was adopted by the regional board and pushed by the advocacy groups that required the county and municipalities to remove all bacteria including natural bacteria or be subject to lawsuits. This is not what the clean water act was based on. Even if the agencies that advocated for this were to completely clean all of the pollution, they would still receive part of the 300 million per year, forever.
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Again, the LA Times is a whole lot more reliable than the tea party propaganda from the Manhattan Institute: "Overtaxed? Check numbers SACRAMENTO — The Republican mantra in the Capitol is that Californians already are overtaxed and especially should not be taxed higher during a recession. Yes, but -- California's state and local tax burden ranks sixth in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C. The burden has bounced around that No. 6 mark most of this decade after hitting No. 2 in 2001. It was No. 9 in both 1990 and 1980. So not a lot has changed over the years. But viewed from a different angle, California's state and local tax burden is closer to average nationally. We rank 18th in total taxes and fees based on a percentage of personal income, according to the nonpartisan California Budget Project in Sacramento. The tax and fee bite is 16.5%. For solely taxes, it's 11.2%. On that, we rank No. 16 among the states. Basing the rankings on personal income "reflects the ability of the state as a whole to pay," contends Jean Ross, executive director of the organization.
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Yes, John, the population level of California ebbs out when the economy is bad, and flows in when boom times return, as they always do. If you broaden your horizons a little bit above World Net Daily, John, you will see that this is a pattern dating back to WW2.
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Straw man alert. No one is talking about reassessing commercial property or residential property. You know full well that libs like me are talking about ending the enormous loophole that commercial landowners take advantage of WHEN THEY SELL. Right now, if Laetz Inc. sells its strip mall to Mazza LLC, we don't transfer title to the property. I simply sell my holding subsidiary company to Mazza LLC. Perfectly legal tax dodge. But if Mr. Laetz sells his house to Mr. Mazza, there is a property tax increase. Don't you think that commercial property owners should have the same obligations as homeowners? Of course you don't, because you're counting on a big fat capital gain when you sell to a buyer who knows he will get the tax loophole. You're also banking on that taxpayer-subsidized "profit" to be taxed at just 15 percent because you're a "job creator", not the 35-39 percent tax levied on mere honest wages. Nice fat property tax subsidy in your pocket, John. That doesn't affect the rent you charge your tenants now. So that little bit of patriotic bluster is worthless. Yes, John, I've been to City Hall in the afternoon, and I don't share your assessment at all.
jim dangelo January 13, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Hans, you made this statement above "Right now, if Laetz Inc. sells its strip mall to Mazza LLC, we don't transfer title to the property. I simply sell my holding subsidiary company to Mazza LLC. Perfectly legal tax dodge." PLEASE CALL the Los Angeles County Assessors - Ownership Division. If Laetz, Inc. sells > 50% interest in Latez to Massa which obviously Massa would purchase a 100% interest in order to own the 100% interest in the property, then the commercial real estate would be fully reassessed. Please call the Ownership Division mayby you will believe them. These statements is whats misleading to people of loopholes that are not there.
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Sorry, Jim, the loophole is there and it's very real. Don't take my word for it: http://www.mercurynews.com/california-budget/ci_22277585/california-democrats-signal-they-want-reform-proposition-13 http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/ab-2492-state-would-close-75-billion-annual-corporate-tax-loophole http://www.calbuzz.com/2011/06/fight-looms-over-prop-13s-biggest-scam/
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 07:54 PM
While Jim describes the INTENT of the laws and constitution, he does not describe the way it actually works. "The system by which commercial property is assessed is irrational, loophole-ridden, complex, increases assessment on some properties while allowing others to escape reassessment, and generally is incapable of being defended as rational public policy. While business groups defend the outcome—very low property taxes for many businesses—we challenge anyone to defend the confused and confusing system which treats similar commercial properties very differently, depending on how they are organized. "For commercial property, the system often fails to capture actual changes in ownership. The basic problem is that the law does not fit the reality of property ownership: commercial property is held in many complex forms which make “a change of ownership” difficult to determine. These forms include limited partnerships, limited liability companies, subchapter S corporations, family trusts, publicly-traded corporations, private equity holdings, real estate investment trusts, and others. Many properties are also structured to avoid change of ownership, particularly the many properties held in trusts."
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
In 1975, residential property represented 53% of the property tax burden in L.A County versus 46% for commercial land, or a 'spread" pf 6.73 percentage points. In 2009, the "spread" had grown to 39 percentage points, with residential property at 69% and commercial property paying just 30%. Source:Caltaxreform.org .
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Hans-- How about the homeowner loophole that lets homeowners in 7-10 counties carry their prop 13 basis and tax to a new house without any increase as long as the house is the same or lesser value. Do you want to do away with that loophole ? By the way, two weeks ago I sold a property to a corporation and guess what--they have to pay the new assessed value based on the sale. Call them , the name of the corporation is Urth Caffe. the property is in Laguna Beach and it closed on Dec 27. I did not want to pay the extra 3.8% for medicare that everyone has to pay on dividends, interest and capital gains in 2013.
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Oooops , I should have said Obamacare not Medicare. Also by the way, the reason California population figures do not map the exodus figures is the exodus figures are for people who move to other states and the population figures include people who come to California from other countries.
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Tom--It is a little insulting to say that if you do not agree with me move. Someday you will realize that California is in a big world of hurt because it has raised it's taxes so high relative to other jurisdictions that it can no longer compete. I could say to you that if you wanted more services you could move to Nevada. Other states have services as good or better than California (we are 47th in education) with lower taxes. Perhaps our top heavy, union sensitive , pension driven system is not working. The answer is not more taxes. I have a good friend who just retired as a prison guard with $96,000 a year pension (I did not make that up)
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 10:36 PM
No, John, I feel HOMEOWNERS should be protected where-ever possible, to let them claw back some of the tax burden that has been shifted onto them by the California Chamber of Commerce, the Apartment Owners Association, and the succession of one percenters who have screwed the majority of Californians under the guise of Proposition 13. As for your last-minute deal, congratulations on beating the millionaire's tax increase. I am sure all the other G.O.P. donors like yourself were busy scurrying around at the last minute, having lost their best chance to restore Gov. Romney's proposed millionaire's tax breaks at the expense of the rest of us. Obviously, you and the clever people at Urth found mutually-beneficial terms. Your partial disclosure of the deal sheds absolutely no light on the corporate loopholes that Urth utilized, assuming they properly exercised their fiduciary duties to their shareholders. Nothing illegal about that, that's how the system is ginned. But it doesn't change the fact that commercial landowners in California, as a class, have reaped far more benefits from Proposition 13 than residential homeowners and renters. We're going to fix that.
John Mazza January 13, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Hans, the main reason for the spread increasing is that commercial property value is based on economic use and house prices are based on other factors. I guarantee you if you bought a house for $100,000 in 1975 it is now worth a great deal more than a commercial property bought for $100,000 in 1975 A GREAT DEAL MORE. The house I lived in in 1975 was for sale at the time for $250,000 and it sold last year of $27,000,000.
Hans Laetz January 13, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Good point, and I agree -- as far as you went. You stopped before you pointed out the obvious conclusion -- these economic factors have gradually shifted the tax burden from commercial property owners to renters and homeowners. You're exactly right. The big businesses behind the California Chamber of Commerce, California Manufacturers Assoc., the landlords association, etc were very clever. They gamed the system with Proposition 13, which had great immediate relief for residential taxpayers, but then screwed them well over the years. The big guns hired Jon Coupal and Howard Jarvis to carry their water for them under the name of "fighting for the little guy." Follow the money, just who do you think paid for those lobbyists?
Terry January 13, 2013 at 11:38 PM
john is correct. the other unnamed guy is something else
jim dangelo January 14, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Hans, you just don't seem to get it, you already stated a transaction loophole above which is FALSE, you DO NOT AVOID reassessment by holding a property on a sale or purchase in a business entity, LLC, Corp, Lp, etc. Call the Los Angeles County Assessor office - Ownership Division on Monday with your off base theory and they will expain it to you. The shift in who pays more in property taxes is not due to commercial property owners not being reassesses, as they ARE reassessed upon a sale. Since the law changed in 1978 far more homes than commercial properties have been developed with high inflationary values thus you have a greater amount of revenue from the residential properties. You do not avoid commercial property reassement simply by selling it in a holding company as you like to call it, there is no loop hole, CALL the Los Angeles County Assessor - OWNERSHIP DIVISION with your example. Seem to want business owners to carry your weight under any means. CALL the Assessor and Give them YOUR EXAMPLE.
Hans Laetz January 14, 2013 at 02:00 AM
We disagree, and I have posted sources for my information. Good night.
Hans Laetz January 14, 2013 at 04:25 PM
"The environmental lobby" ??? You mean, people who swim, surf or fish in the ocean? The taxpayers who pay to shovel tons of trash out of the bays after each storm? The insurance companies and emergency rooms that treat sickened people (oh, yeah, people get very sick from your garbage)? The people who rely on clean oceans for the billions of dollars of tourism dollars, which are dependent on clean beaches? Those people, are sticking it to you, for asking for a modest tax to clean up the problem upstream? Just who is sticking it to whom here?

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