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The Region | IN BRIEF / ORANGE COUNTY

Judge Puts Off Ruling in Tax Assessment Case

January 23, 2002

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A judge will wait until at least March to decide whether to expand his ruling that an assessment method that raised the tax bill on a Seal Beach home is unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge John M. Watson ruled in December that the county tax assessor illegally raised the assessed value of the home by more than the 2%-a-year limit set under Proposition 13.

County attorneys have defended the practice, called "recapturing." It is used after properties have dropped in value and had their assessments lowered. When the values rebound, the new assessments routinely exceed the 2% limit.

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