BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE GOVERNANCE & FINANCE COMMITTEE Senator Lois Wolk, Chair BILL NO: AB 468 HEARING: 6/22/11 AUTHOR: Smyth FISCAL: Yes VERSION: 5/27/11 TAX LEVY: No CONSULTANT: Weinberger PROPERTY TAX ALLOCATION FOR THE CITY OF SIMI VALLEY (URGENCY) Prohibits a reduction in Simi Valley's property tax equity allocation resulting from a maintenance district's dissolution. Background and Existing Law Proposition 13 (1978) limited property tax rates to 1%, cutting statewide property tax revenues by 57%. The power to allocate the remaining property tax revenues became the Legislature's duty. The Legislature responded by allocating property tax revenues to counties, cities, special districts, and school districts based on each agency's pro rata share of the property taxes collected within a county in the three fiscal years prior to 1978-79 (SB 154, Rodda, 1978). In 1979, the Legislature permanently restructured the allocation of property taxes, using SB 154's property tax allocations as a base (AB 8, L. Greene, 1979). As a result, most cities receive property taxes based on their historical shares of property tax revenues. Each city's revenues reflect its share in the three fiscal years before Proposition 13. Cities which never levied a property tax or which levied only low property tax rates are called no- and low-property-tax cities. The Legislature requires counties to shift some of their own property tax revenues to these cities (AB 1197, W. Brown, 1988). In most counties, the "no/low cities" get 7% of the property tax revenues generated within their city limits. In Ventura County, the auditor must use a different formula, which gives a no/low city 4% of the local property AB 468 -- 5/27/11 -- Page 2 taxes. The Legislature has prohibited no/low cities' property tax allocations from being reduced when they receive additional property tax revenues from specified sources. County auditors cannot reducing a no/low city's property tax allocation if a special district is consolidated with, or merged into the city after January 1, 1995 (SB 1361, Wright, 1994). A county auditor is also prohibited from reducing a city's tax equity allocation because the city received additional property tax revenue from the county under a "services for revenue agreement" (SB 1581, Escutia, 2000). The Simi Valley Lighting Maintenance District is a citywide maintenance district formed in 1969, under the Improvement Act of 1911, to fund the maintenance of the traffic signals system in the City of Simi Valley (Ventura County). The District is a separate financial entity from the City's General Fund. It is primarily funded by nearly $3 million in property tax revenues that it receives under AB 8. To give the City more fiscal flexibility, Simi Valley officials want to dissolve the District and merge its property tax revenues into the City's General Fund. However, under the tax equity allocation formula, the additional property tax revenues from the dissolved district would flow to Ventura County, instead of Simi Valley. Proposed Law Beginning with the 2011-12 fiscal year, Assembly Bill 468 prohibits the Ventura County Auditor from reducing the amount of property tax revenue distributed to the City of Simi Valley under the statutory tax equity allocation formula if the City receives property tax revenues previously allocated to a maintenance or improvement district. AB 468 requires the City of Simi Valley to reimburse the auditor's actual and reasonable costs incurred to administer the bill's provisions. The bill disclaims the state's responsibility for reimbursing the Ventura County Auditor for the cost of new duties related to allocating ad AB 468 -- 5/27/11 -- Page 3 valorem property tax revenues, citing the bill's requirement that the City of Simi Valley reimburse the auditor's costs. AB 468 contains findings declaring the need for a special law that applies only to the City of Simi Valley. State Revenue Impact No estimate. Comments 1. Purpose of the bill . If the City of Simi Valley dissolves its lighting maintenance district, the City would still be responsible for maintaining city traffic signals and street lighting. However, under the complex tax equity allocation formula that determines how much property tax revenue that the City receives, the maintenance district's $3 million in revenues would go to Ventura County after the District's dissolution. Although the County would gain property tax revenues after the District's dissolution, it is inconceivable that Simi Valley officials would dissolve the district knowing that their City would lose those property tax revenues. AB 468 enacts an understanding between city and county officials that, if Simi Valley dissolves its district, the revenues should remain with the local government that inherits its responsibilities. This understanding lets Simi Valley gain the flexibility of adding property tax revenues into its General Fund without depriving Ventura County of any property tax revenues that it would receive under any foreseeable circumstances. 2. Urgency clause . Regular statutes take effect on the January 1 following their enactment; bills passed in 2011 take effect on January 1, 2012. The California Constitution allows bills with urgency clauses to take effect immediately if they're needed for the public peace, health, and safety. AB 468 contains an urgency clause so that Simi Valley officials can immediately dissolve their maintenance district and make the City its successor. Assembly Actions AB 468 -- 5/27/11 -- Page 4 Assembly Local Government Committee: 8-0 Assembly Appropriations Committee:17-0 Assembly Floor: 76-0 Support and Opposition (6/16/11) Support : City of Simi Valley. Opposition : Unknown.