How does the State’s diversion of school property taxes affect SAN FRANCISCO?
$201,759,091 of school-designated property tax was diverted in 2010-11 to meet the state’s obligations – this grew to $217,575,492 in 2012-13.
This $200 million diversion is invisible to taxpayers – they could be forgiven for thinking that 34% of local property taxes went to education. In fact, almost half of these taxes never reached San Francisco schools. From the Assessor’s Annual Report:
And from pointed queries to the Auditor-Controller’s office:
47% of the property tax San Franciscans think they’re paying for schools goes elsewhere. Almost 40% is redirected to satisfy Sacramento’s obligations. The other 7% goes to Redevelopment – 60% of which comes out of school-allocated property tax.
Was the money promptly repaid? No. San Francisco’s K-12 schoolchildren left for the summer with over $46.7 million owed to their district in 2011-12, $22.6 million deferred from earlier in the year.
It’s time to grant San Francisco’s schools and community colleges the same protection for their stable, reliable, local property taxes that cities, the county, and special districts (mosquito abatement, lighting, flood, libraries, parks, hospitals) have enjoyed for a decade.