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California Briefing / Orange County

First property tax dip since 1994

July 07, 2009|Tami Abdollah

Orange County's total property tax values for 2009-10 are down 1.23%, or $5.2 billion -- the county's first decrease since the bankruptcy years of 1994 and 1995, according to the annual report released by the assessor's office this month.

The decrease in value translates to at least $52 million less public funding for local agencies, said Assessor Webster J. Guillory.

The total taxable value of $418.8 billion assessed as of Jan. 1 includes more than 1 million units, more than 200,000 of which are now assessed below their Proposition 13 taxable values, he said.

Some cities -- including Irvine, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach -- have slightly increased their assessed values, mainly because of development. But in the county as a whole, resales, new construction and development are at their lowest level in 20 years, Guillory said.

"The big question for everyone is, 'OK, now that we have the bad news for this year, what's going to be the news for next year?' " he said. "People are already starting to look ahead, and with the job market what it is, income tax, sales tax and property tax all trending down, those three make up the largest three of the local budget equation. Property tax is the biggest contributor to those numbers."

Guillory said the property tax trend for 2010-11 will probably become more evident in the next three to four months.

-- Tami Abdollah

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