MV property taxes on the rise

Almost a quarter of Santa Clara County's property owners are set for a jump in their property tax bills, thanks to this year's boost in the residential real estate market.

During the real estate market collapse, 136,000 property owners' residences assessed below their purchase prices, according to the Santa Clara County Assessor's office.

The market value of 47,000 of those properties have completely erased that lost value and now exceed their original price. Another 81,000 properties will regain part of their lost value, officials said.

With the increase in market value, assessed values increase as well, leading to a bump in property taxes.

Mountain View Whisman and Los Altos both will see an 8 percent increase in property tax revenues in their elementary school districts.

"The market solely determines whether the assessed value of a property is reduced or restored." said Santa Clara Assessor Larry Stone.

California has two propositions used to calculate property taxes. Proposition 13 prohibits property taxes from increasing by no more than 2 percent a year measured from the base year value. However, Prop 13 no longer applies if the assessed value of a property is lower than current market value, which is where Proposition 8 comes in. Homeowners who have property that is lower than the purchase price have their property tax reassessed at the current, lower market value.

Stone said that the tax hikes aren't necessarily a bad thing.

"The increases in assessed value are clear evidence that Silicon Valley is roaring out of the economic abyss created by the recession," he said. "Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow."

"While increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is actually very good news for our local economy, especially for homeowners. It means the value of most families' single most valuable asset, their homes, is once against regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market."

Stone said his office is in the process of sending out annual notification letters that will inform homeowners of the current assessed values. That will help identify the geographic areas that can be expected to received the largest increases in property taxes.

"Santa Clara County is one of only 10 counties in California to provide this early notice," said Stone.

Stone said he encourages homeowners to use the on-line tool at to help them to understand which comparable sales were used to determine the assessment of homes. Property owners will also be allowed an informal review of their assessed value after they've received their notice.


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Posted by Dog Using the Internet
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

This would all be averted with a cat tax.

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Posted by Yep
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Makes sense. axes went down a while back when values were in the dumper. I had no complaints then about them going down.

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Posted by Gone
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I am so glad I don't live in MV any longer. It's way over priced for those who pay taxes. To be fair to everyone, there shouldn't be prop13 for some and not everyone.

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a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm


NY like MV Hostile to Single Housing Residences want more High Rising Buildings.

Must change its name to CONCRETE VEW CITY!

Adios! Mountain View!

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Posted by We Miss You too
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm

"I am so glad I don't live in MV any longer."
Usually people who are glad to leave a place don't come back to check in the way you do. It seems to me you're still seeking validation that you did the right thing. People who are glad to leave don't need such validation to try and convince themselves they made a good personal choice.

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Posted by With all the new home being built
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm

With all the new homes being built, it will not stop there, but everything like water, electricity, garbage, sewer, etc.... will increase.

Welcome to what's called a bloated Government. Their number 1 job is to figure out more ways to take your money, for the high speed rail and the water diversion from the delta.

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Posted by @gone
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

"To be fair to everyone, there shouldn't be prop13 for some and not everyone." Boy you are ignorant and good riddance.

Prop 13 protects everyone. Once you buy a house, your rates will not increase more than 2% per year. So the sooner you buy your house the better. You lock in that rate. Prop 13 protected a lot of owners from not paying more than their property is worth. But when property values go up again, so will your tax rate to either then a new lower rate, but not to exceed your original rate. It's a way of saving you money, when things get bad.

Why was Proposition 13 supported by such a large majority of voters?
Prior to Proposition 13, property taxes were out of control. The tax rate throughout California averaged almost 3% of market value, and there were no limits on increases either for the tax rate or property value assessments. Some properties were reassessed 50% to 100% higher in just one year, so their owners' tax bills skyrocketed, often beyond the homeowners' ability to pay their property taxes!

In one year in Los Angeles County alone, 400,000 people had not paid their property tax because they didn't have the money, running the risk of being forced out of their homes.

Elderly people were among the hardest hit. Many had paid off their mortgages yet faced losing their homes because they couldn't afford property taxes. Just as millions of Californians were at risk of being driven out of their homes, Howard Jarvis gathered more than 1.5 million signatures to qualify a statewide initiative that would finally end excessive taxation and protect the security of home ownership — Proposition 13.

An overwhelming majority of Californian voters — almost 66% — voted for Proposition 13 because they knew that the initiative would finally take power away from the tax collectors and give it back to the taxpayers. And once Howard Jarvis and his Tax Revolt passed Proposition 13, property tax rates finally became predictable, manageable, and fair.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Just shows that you never really own your property. You are just renting it from the government.

Stop paying that rent and they will kick you out of your house.

Prop 13 really needs to be repealed.

Fair? Hardly.

Two identical houses right next to each other on the same street pay to very different amounts each year in taxes just because one owner has been there longer than the other.

No matter how long those people stay in those houses one will always be paying significantly more than the other in taxes.

Both houses get the same services for those taxes.

Does that sound fair?

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Posted by Connie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Property taxes at 3% of market value is too high, but that doesn't mean that Prop 13 is a good thing. Paying about $500-$800 per year on a $1M+ property while others pay $10,000+ is ridiculously unfair. With our underfunded schools and infrastructure, the biggest losers are our kids and young people. The biggest winners of Prop 13 are commercial real estate owners who are paying very little tax. Many of these strip mall owners don't live in California so they don't care if our schools and cities are underfunded. Here in Silicon Valley, Prop 13 hampers the growth and vitality of our neighborhoods as we subsidize the elderly who are not participating in the tech economy. Prop 13 is unsustainable and the situation worsens every year. We need to replace it with something smarter, something that doesn't help the wealthy commercial real estate owners maintain their advantage over others who didn't get in "early", but also doesn't toss the poor out on the streets.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

California was the Light Of The World until Proposition 13 passed. Now it's 48th in education. It's drowning in a sea of red ink. Reaganomics destroyed America. The rich need to pay their fair share, like they did under Eisenhower.

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Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

when you talk bout two people living next to each other who don't pay the same taxes... if you can find two identical homes next to each other that have no differences other than how long the owners have lived there, then I would be surprised! But here is the situation: Someone who is now in their 80s and living on Social Security is able to stay in the home they bought 45 years ago because they are NOT paying the same taxes as their neighbor. Their neighbor bought their home two or three years ago fully knowing what the tax amount would be and bought the house because they could afford it. Prop 13 applies to the unremodeled parts of home only - if someone adds onto their home, the addition is taxed at a higher rate than the original home. So the lowest taxes are paid by people (mostly elderly) who have not remodeled their homes and have lived there quite some time. Why begrudge them the home that they love and do not want to be forced out of? Prop 13 protects these people.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Take a look around, we have office buildings full of companies, we have businesses that are hiring, we have a pretty good city government. Yes it might not be perfect, the schools are good but then again they might not be perfect.

But look around, walked by Eagle Park, the lawns are cut, green. The sidewalks are broken up by years of neglect or no sidewalks. We have a pretty nice downtown with landscaping, most places are just buildings with empty stores and parking.

We have loads of work, go out to Google, check out the newspapers on business growth. San Jose Business Journal, Topix or tech website. We are blessed with having NASA, 500 Startups, Y Combinator and Hacker Dojo.

Our schools are good, again not perfect but they have done a better job then most places, our high schools are great. Yes California is 48 but then again we have lousy school districts and really good ones. We have issues with money, we have issues on how to fun a school district, the folks in the Central Valley vs Santa Clara Valley are not on the same page. We aren't teaching our kids to be farmers but we aren't teaching them to have trade.

Mountain View might not be the most perfect place to live, own a home, raise a family, to retire, own a business, or to work. It could be so far worse.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Do any of you upset about Prop 13 realize that interest rates for a home in 1978 was 13.75 percent? Is it unfair that you have a interest rate between 3 and 6 percent?

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Posted by Dave Roode
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Dave Roode is a registered user.

This will do very well for the basic aid school districts. These property taxes will directly feed into the operating budgets of MVWSD, LASD, and MVLA-HS. All will benefit. I am proud to be a contributor through my parcel taxes!

David Roode

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Posted by Connie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Helping the elderly is worthwhile, but it should not be at the expense of our children and the future health of California. Our elementary schools used to have music and the arts, programs for the gifted and did not require monthly handouts and donations. Some school districts are so underfunded that they have been forced to cut down their hours and close for the summer early. Kids just 20-40 years ago graduated with manageable loans from fully funded public colleges, not the lifetime shackles that they have today. It's shameful that the adults are taking from future generations who don't have the power to vote. Not too long ago, we used to invest in the younger generation and reaped the benefits. The U.S. was one of the first countries to have mandatory high school education and a superior workforce. The rest of the world followed our example. We had the winning formula and we can have it again.

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Posted by John
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm

We are so happy that we get are getting taxed more so we can support the bloated government and its gold plated pensions and benefits.

Greed is the order of the day.

And the shills argue about prop 13!

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Just remember that your taxes are being used to create a SANCTUARY CITY environment. People that DEMAND Yo Hablo and refuse to join the MV community unless MV meets THEIR TERMS!

When you allow 1 law to be broken, it leads to the weakening of all your other laws. Remember AIDING AND ABETTING a crime makes YOU an accomplice to that crime.

I think that the local taxpayer is not getting the dollar's worth in City Government. Spending time on an asinine cat licensing law ( my parents word; they still live in MV and have seen the soap opera politics starting with Dog City )and having the MVPD look the other way when a law is broken is just two of the City's problems.

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Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 19, 2013 at 10:42 pm

See ya, MtnView.... and after the downtown shuts down and the folks move away... those remaining can brag about the good ole days..

EGADS City Hall.... cut the "stuff"... cut back, don't spend...

Ya think this is Atherton ??

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Posted by No Property Taxes
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Proposition 13 does not merely protect the elderly. Prop 13 protects everyone as property values rise (or skyrocket as they are doing now), enabling families to budget and plan.

Prop 13 protects renters as well as homeowners: without Prop 13, dramatic annual property tax increases would pass through to renters in the form of dramatic increases in rent.

Even so, this thread demonstrates why property taxes are not a good idea. Californians seem to view property taxes as a necessary evil, but they are not necessary. Many states do not assess anything in property taxes. Instead those states raise revenue through income taxes and sales taxes -- taxes which better reflect one's (disposable) income and ability to pay.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2013 at 6:18 am

People will moan about taxes, my sales tax is high, income tax is to high, the gas tax and property tax is high. At the same time complain about schools, parks or some sort of public infrastructure.

Of course most people love the value of their homes to rise. Owners of rental units have increased the amount of rents not because of taxes, office space rents have risen. Supply and demand which also has caused the demand for higher wages.

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Posted by Eric
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

Another reason to protect the elderly and those that were here earlier with lower taxes is that THEY were the ones who made it into/kept it the nice neighborhood that made YOU want to move into.

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Posted by Cat
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 7:48 am

I object: I think a bird tax is the way to go

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Posted by Fare
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 20, 2013 at 8:04 am

Is it fair that I have to pay $1,000,000+ for a house that they paid $20,000 for? Or $20,000 for a car that they paid $2,000 for? I want to buy the house for $20,000!! Make them give it to me!!! Me me me!! I want you to make them pay $1m for their house!! I want I want I want!!! me me me!!!

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Posted by Equal
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 20, 2013 at 8:18 am

You're telling me that someone bought Apple stock at $6, and today, I have the EXACT same piece of paper, from the Exact same company, and I have to pay $421??? What?!?!?!

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:05 am

It isn't that the value of your homes has truly risen. What has happened is that the value of the dollar has declined. You can still get a gallon of gas for a quarter, just like in 1964, if that quarter is silver, as it was in 1964.

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Posted by Waiting
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Well, there should be lots of houses available for the people trying hard to get into MV, what with all these doomy gloomies foretelling the ultimate demise of MV. If they actually believe what they say they would be complete id'jits for staying here. Why don't you leave now? I'll buy your house!! Please, put your house on the market this week!

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Posted by Liz
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Sounds like people will no longer benefit by Prop.13? as taxes will increase to market value and do not understand how Prop. 8 connected.

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Posted by Sanity
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Nobody is saying that we want everything to be equal. What we do need is for everyone to be paying their fair share of taxes every year. If you can't afford to pay the same taxes that workers can, you should move and make room for those who can. Anything else is a handout that we can't afford.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm

To the person who said it would be hard to find to identical houses.. you aren't looking very hard.

I live in a tract of homes, all built in the 50's, and there are TWO FLOOR PLANS. My house is the exact same floorplan as the neighbor's house. Same crappy single pane windows, open beam ceilings, tiny kitchens.

We pay two very different amounts for property taxes each year. And before you say anything else, I pay a lot less.

And I don't think that's fair. We all use the same services in this city and should all pay the same rate for those services.

But the part that bugs me is no one is willing to FIRE the people who were raising our taxes. That's called an election. If we're being taxed out of our homes why didn't we fire the people raising our taxes?

Instead we just passed a law which just passed the burden to something else. That's why we pay $500 a year to register our cars where other states pay $20.

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

income tax is essentially slavery

sales/use tax is essentially income tax

IMO, the entire government budget at all levels should be funded from property. This can be done if we also drastically shrink the scope of government, eliminate unions for government workers, and privatize education with a voucher system.


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Posted by No property tax
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Ideafarm, worst idea yet. You know how many people would be put in the streets with an idea like yours?

Your home is your freedom, your sanctuary, WHAT you own (hopefully). There should be no property taxes on your home at all. Why? Well lets say you finally bought your house, paid it all off. Then you lose your job and don't have enough savings to pay your property taxes. The Gov't can force you out of your house because you have not paid your taxes.

I petition for no property taxes!! Like other states have.


"Helping the elderly is worthwhile, but it should not be at the expense of our children and the future health of California."

That's about as insensitive statement i've heard. As bad as some of the stuff that comes out of Ronit's mouth. Connie, follow the money trail and you'll see all the waste. When Billions go to HSR or Delta projects, you wonder why schools and roads are underfunded? Get a clue and wake up!!

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

It seems to me that local and state governments operate as if their mission is to maximize the value of real estate. For example, the aggregate value of real estate in Mountain View is roughly $15 billion. If the true objective of government is to maximize the value of real estate, why not have that system out in the open, fully transparent. Since the system operates to enrich property owners at the expense of everyone else, it is only fair that property owners pay the cost of the government that is in fact working for them.

I'm throwing this idea out purely for the sake of a good conversation. I really do advocate that we envision the United States with a very small government funded solely by property taxes, with absolutely no income or sales taxes.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2013 at 7:55 am

Other states from what I have gathered is this. Property tax is based on your income and what kind of home you afford.

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Posted by Wo\'O Ideafarm
a resident of another community
on Jun 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

Wo\'O Ideafarm is a registered user.

The tax that I am envisioning is like today's income tax. It would based on a state of the art (ordinary least squares regression) estimate of the current market value of the real property. The tax would either be a simple percentage of market value or would be different rates for different ranges, similar to today's income tax.

Government would be funded on the principles (1) that the function of government is to secure a geographic territory for the exclusive use of the citizens, (2) that citizenship and residency are contracts made on a worldwide marketplace, (3) that every human being on the planet has an equal right to enter into such contracts, and (4) that every territorial government must compete for citizens and residents by offering competitive terms.

Suppliers (territorial governments) would supply whatever kinds of contracts people demanded. People who desire security more than freedom would be able to purchase citizenship in communist systems. People who desire freedom and willing to take personal responsibility for arranging for their own security would be able to purchase citizenship in free systems. The same territorial government might offer both communist and free contracts.

IOW, if the United States "goes communist", as it appears to be doing, people should be able to opt out. I should not have to be a communist just because the majority of the people in the United States want to be communists. I want to be able to opt out!

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

The state legislative is about to place.on the November statewide ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment lowering to 55 or 50 percent the percentage OF THOSE.VOTING to increase property taxes. Locally, career politiicians such as Margaret Abe-Kga want higher taxes and fees for mst everything incling a.Santa Clara County cities association she can "lead" when she is termed out of her current "job" as a part-time city.councilmember.

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