Measure S Reexamined
Tax Increase and Students Who Benefit Uncertain
In his “Answers to Questions About Measure S,” Lanny Ebenstein fixes the cost of the increased property tax assessment per $100,000 of assessed valuation. But it is a fact that a fixed amount of additional property tax assessment from Measure S for every property from Gaviota to the Ventura County line cannot be determined until interest rates on the bonds are determined.
Ebenstein writes about the cost of the bonds to condos and single family homes using the median assessed value of homes and condos. He neglects to mention all the rental and commercial properties in the entire district, as if they don’t exist and will not be taxed. The fact is that every residential and commercial property will pay increased property taxes for Measure S. And these added taxes will be passed on to all renters! In turn, these added costs to commercial tenants will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
One Mesa apartment house owner, even using Ebenstein’s assessment amount of $16.65 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, will see her tax bill go up at least $5,650 a year. This will be passed on to the renters in this apartment house. It’s called inflation!
How many homes in the Santa Barbara area are worth only $458,000, the median assessed amount Measure S proponents are trying to sell to homeowners as “the assessed valuation” that will determine what homeowners pay?
Ebenstein states that 43 percent of local high school graduates enrolled in SBCC last September and then goes on to mention three Santa Barbara High Schools. The 43 percent he mentions, in fact, are fewer than 500 students; historically, many never finish SBCC and drop out. Less than 500 SBCC graduates a year go into the UC system, and many of these are out of district students.
Ebenstein states that we are investing in our local students if Measure S passes. But, in fact, 12,000 students attending SBCC are not local. They come from out of the SBCC district, and this bond, costing over a half-billion dollar with interest, will finance them! The bonds will expand the buildings at SBCC and, in turn, bring in more outside students, adding to the hundreds of thousands who are already destined to attend SBCC. High rents and less affordable housing will suffer even more, as more local residents are forced out of their homes and apartments and forced move elsewhere and commute.
In a letter dated August 25, Joan Galvan, the public information officer for SBCC, told me, “We do not collect data on what date a student moves into or out of the district.” SBCC doesn’t even know if a student is straight from Manchuria, if what Galvan says is true, and I believe it is! I believe their total enrollment number, but I could move here from Manchuria, get an address and California driver License prior to enrollment, and I would be counted as a local California resident. Therefore, it is my contention that SBCC’s outside California numbers cannot be and are not accurate. Until the school challenges my assumptions, I will say that its outside-of-state student numbers cannot be correct or proven by them. They cannot have it both ways!
Measure S is also regressive: The less time you have owned your house, the more you pay. Newcomers pay more than people who have owned their property for decades.