Governor Signs Davis Unified Parcel Tax Exemption Bill

(From Press Release) – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that will allow the Davis Joint Unified School District to waive its district parcel tax for teachers and school district employees, making housing more affordable to them.

“This new law will provide a small but meaningful incentive for public educators and school staff to live in the community of Davis where they work,” Senator Dodd said. “I thank Gov. Brown for recognizing teachers and the critical role they play in supporting their community.”

“If giving public school teachers a break on this tax will make housing more affordable and encourage them to live in the community they serve, then we absolutely must do it,” the Senator said. “Educating our children is a top priority for me and this bill will help support the dedicated men and women we entrust with this important job. I am pleased that an overwhelming majority of my Senate colleagues agree with me and are willing to provide this reasonable incentive to our educators.”

Senate Bill 958 was signed Thursday. It was supported by the Davis Joint Unified School District and state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

Davis schools trustee Alan Fernandes has said it would encourage more of the district’s more than 450 teachers to live in the community they serve. Now, about two-thirds of the teachers live outside Davis where housing is less expensive, he said.

“We in Davis applaud the efforts of the senator in recognizing the need to obtain greater flexibility with our local budget to become more competitive for our teachers and school employees,” Fernandes said. “We appreciate the governor’s recognition of that in signing the bill and look forward to continuing to work with our senator to explore other ways to ensure that we do everything to honor the service and commitment of teachers and school employees to our students.”

Davis school board president Tom Adams said “We are grateful for the support of Senator Bill Dodd and the California State Senate in recognizing the challenges facing DJUSD and its teachers. We desire what all districts want — local control.”

Davis superintendent John Bowes said, “DJUSD is committed to ensuring that the quality education Davis residents expect continues into the future and we thank Senator Dodd for his leadership on this bill that will help DJUSD close our employee compensation gap.”

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      1. Howard P

        To clarify… so Measure M assessments cannot be waived for a targeted group? Are there “senior”/low income exemptions?  Best (pun intended) if DJUSD makes that ‘perfectly clear’… and commits to that… same for the candidates… little info from DJUSD to this point…

        Same as to Keith’s question on existing parcel taxes… Best (pun intended, again) if DJUSD makes that ‘perfectly clear’… and commits to that…. prospective, not retro… same for the candidates…

  1. Keith O

    I know of some teachers whose families are very well off, their partners have very good jobs.  What a nice windfall for them.

    How about other families that these school parcel taxes are a burden on, are they going to get relief too?

    I think this new law might hurt any new proposed school parcel taxes in the future as voters will see this as unfair.  It will also be hard for teachers to push these taxes because they’re telling others to pony up for something they don’t have to pay them themselves.

      1. Howard P

        Seems like they would have had to declare that in the measure itself. So looks like not for this measure but only subsequent ones.

        But a good, unanswered question…

        1. Howard P

          The DJUSD should be stepping forth and addressing it (questions)… VBM ballots go out in a couple-3 weeks…

          If the answers don’t come out soon, am disinclined to vote for any DJUSD measure, where I was strongly inclined to vote in favor of the facilities bond measure…

          Your question, Keith, about

          applies to school parcel taxes and bonds already in effect or only new ones.

          is a damn good one… DJUSD, who sponsored/supported the bill should “person-up” and address these questions… and the candidates for the Board should, as well!

          Timing of this measure vis-a-vis November, is unfortunate…

  2. Jim Hoch

    The school parcel tax originally had an exemption for seniors. When renewed it had an exemption for seniors and one for disability. The disability exemption was not retroactive to the current year. Since the law only permits an additional exemption it would seem to be a “going forward option”.

    1. Howard P

      With all due respect, would prefer a commitment from DJUSD and the Board candidates… not that I don’t trust you and David, but…

      … neither of you have not the ‘power’/authority…

  3. Ron

    Keith:  “I think this new law might hurt any new proposed school parcel taxes in the future as voters will see this as unfair.  It will also be hard for teachers to push these taxes because they’re telling others to pony up for something they don’t have to pay them themselves.”

    Agreed.  Also, what about other workers in Davis (who may earn even less than teachers)?  Why wouldn’t they also qualify for an exemption? (And, why does this bill only apply in Davis – and not other communities that are far more expensive?)

    The bill is inherently unfair, and borders on corruption.

    1. Keith O

      Yes Ron, what’s next?   City workers being exempt from city parcel taxes?  I’m sure many city workers can make a case that Davis is too expensive for them and their salaries.

      1. Ron

        Most workers can probably make that case.  For city workers, the logical “corresponding” measure would be an exemption from city parcel taxes.

        Honestly, what was Bill Dodd thinking, when he pushed this through?  And, who did he meet with (regarding this bill) in the first place?  (In other words, who initially “advocated” for this?)

        By the way, this won’t cause the existing 2/3 of teachers who apparently live outside Davis (per the article) to move to Davis. Therefore, I’m not sure what the actual purpose is. (Perhaps a rather insignificant “recruiting tool” for new teachers?

        1. Keith O

          Good point.  It will just give the ones that currently live here a nice tax break and increase the burden on the remaining homeowners who do have to pay the school parcel taxes.  I really think this could backfire on the school district.  You talk about a great talking point for school parcel tax detractors.

        2. Ron

          Keith:  “You talk about a great talking point for school parcel tax detractors.”

          They’re shooting themselves in the foot, for a rather insignificant benefit for a select few.  (Which won’t even benefit the majority of Davis teachers.)

          Seems like no one with any sense was in the room, when this was first considered.

      2. Howard P

        To be clear… it’s not about the $$$, in my view (actually, de minimus)… it’s about the principle (or as Dad said “it wasn’t about how I hated HS, it was just the principal of the thing”)…

        Thinking slippery slope… exempting senior, disabled, poor… as Tom Lehrer wrote, “Who’s Next?”… maybe “folk of color”, left-handed folk, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, No Party Preference, etc., etc., etc…

        DJUSD needs to address, very soon…

  4. Jeff M

    Good Democrat (or those that used to be Democrat and still hold mostly Democrat connections) politicians stroking one hand that feeds them while beating the rest with their other hand.

  5. Cindy Pickett

    Here is the actual language of Senate Bill 958:

    It applies to teachers as well as district employees.

    It applies to “qualified special taxes” which is the term used for parcel taxes.

    Interestingly, the new bill will become inoperative in 2021, which means that it will only apply to parcel taxes passed until then.

    The Measure M ballot language does not provide for any exemptions. Measure M is based on the assessed value of one’s home. So, presumably seniors who are more likely to have owned their homes for a longer amount of time will be paying less because of the rate structure.


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