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Property Taxes

April 22, 1993

Your article (April 8) announcing the county assessor's decision to roll back assessments on homes bought after 1988 should have noted that the action was the result of a lawsuit filed against the county and the State Board of Equalization by former Los Angeles County Assessor Alexander H. Pope. Your article incorrectly suggested that the current assessor instituted the rollbacks; in truth, he vigorously opposed our lawsuit for over a year.

Pope and I brought the class-action suit on behalf of all L.A. County property owners who had declines in the value of their real estate. The lawsuit, along with complaints from other aggrieved taxpayers across the state, resulted in a Board of Equalization directive to county assessors "to inventory and process declines in value with the same diligence and resource expended on increases in values."

Until this time, the current county assessor pursued a reactive policy; i.e., only granting tax reductions when paperwork was filed by a property owner substantiating a decline in value. This left the burden on homeowners to individually prove what is obvious in Los Angeles' dismal real estate market--that the value of their property had declined. The point of the suit was to enforce Prop. 8, an amendment to Prop. 13, which requires the assessor to reduce taxes when market values fall below assessments.

MARK RYAVEC

Chief Deputy Assessor, 1985-87

Venice

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