BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair AB 563 (Furutani) Hearing Date: 08/15/2011 Amended: 05/11/2011 Consultant: Mark McKenzie Policy Vote: G&F 6-3 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: AB 563 would require a county assessor to provide information to city finance officials when conducting an investigation related to the imposition of a documentary transfer tax on an unrecorded change in control or ownership. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund Information sharing mandate unknown reimbursable costs to assessors General to provide specified information to city officials _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: This bill may meet the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Existing law authorizes cities and counties to enact an ordinance to impose a documentary transfer tax (DTT), which applies to deeds of transfer of realty within that jurisdiction, and is based on the value of the transfer. The DTT is imposed at a rate of fifty-five cents for each $500 of value in counties, while general law cities may impose a DTT at half the county rate, which counts as a credit against the county tax. Charter cities may impose a higher rate; the City of Oakland imposes the highest rate at $7.50 per $500 in value. County recorders generally collect the DTT and remit the city portion as appropriate. Existing law provides that information and records in the assessor's office are not public documents, and are not open for public inspection unless allowed by law. Specific exemptions exist for law enforcement agencies, county grand juries, boards of supervisors, and state taxing agencies. SB 816 (Ducheny), Chapter 622 of 2009, requires the assessor to provide specified information to the county recorder when conducting an investigation to determine whether a DTT is imposed. > (>) Page 1 AB 563 would require the assessor to disclose information, furnish abstracts, or permit access to all records, except social security numbers, to designated employees of a city's finance office when conducting an investigation to determine whether a DTT should be imposed for an unrecorded change in control or ownership of property. The bill would require the designated city employee to certify under penalty of perjury that the information is necessary to enforce the DTT and that any confidential information is not a public record subject to inspection. This bill would impose a reimbursable state-mandated local program by requiring county assessors to provide information to city officials investigating whether a DTT should be imposed. It is unlikely that costs to provide the information would be significant, but if a successful claim is filed with the Commission on State Mandates, county costs would be state-reimbursable. Existing law requires state departments that access this information to reimburse the assessor for any costs incurred for providing records. Staff suggests that the bill be amended to require cities to reimburse the assessor for any costs incurred for providing information to city finance officials.