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Measure SA is a $5 myth

SCV Voices

Posted: October 31, 2008 9:07 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2009 5:00 a.m.
Think about it. If Measure V required $30 per $100,000 of assessed home value to raise $158 million, how, then, is it possible to raise $300 million on $5, as proponents of Measure SA claim?

Upon reading the official sample ballot, one could mistakenly come to the wrong conclusion and think that proponents of Measure SA are only asking us for a tax increase of $5 per $100,000 on the assessed value of our homes. And for one year, 2009-2010, that is correct.

Thereafter, it will rise to about $29 per $100,000, or about $190 in yearly taxes. That is, if we were to use the district’s claims of $650,000 average home value in the SCV. We all know were home values are heading.

The short-lived $5 increase is the hook, like the tricks used by some desperate salesman.

Measure SA bond taxes of $29 per $100,000 will be in addition to the $25 we already pay for Measure V bonds. Our combined Measure V and SA property taxes per $100,000 will be about $55 or $355 in property taxes a year for the next 20 years, ending in 2030.

They will go back down to about $30 or $190 per $100,000 of assessed value in 2031 through 2041. These are the facts and not myths.

Proponents of Measure SA renovations list the same schools for which renovations were just completed this year at a cost of about $40 million each. Saugus High, Canyon High and Arroyo Seco Junior High come to mind. Hart High, Sierra Vista Junior High and others are in the process of massive renovations as well and by similar amounts.

The Hart district also mentioned the need of additional money for athletic field renovations. Well, another fact is, the district just finished a $25 million renovation of athletic fields, and one can only begin to wonder as to why $25 million was not enough.

For Measure SA, we are offered again an independent citizens oversight committee as well as performance and financial audits, as if those were a Hart district’s choice and not constitutional and Proposition 39 mandates.

Complete financial audits are something the Hart High School District could benefit from.

Some community citizens would like to see the Hart district conduct a more complete financial audit similar in scope to that of a forensic audit to provide our community with some much-needed transparency on the district’s financial accounting systems.

At least a board member or two have, in the past and with some reservations, expressed their support for such an audit.

Additionally, we feel that today’s financial markets do not offer the best conditions for the sale of bonds, as high interest rates might be needed to entice potential bond investors.

In the past, the Hart district raised about $330 million from state and developers’ fees to complement the $158 million from Measure V.

This time around that will not be the case, as not much development is going on around town. As we all know, lottery sales revenues are down, and the state of California is also broke.

Today, the Hart district’s best estimates indicate that only $139 million in matching funds from state and developers’ fees will be achieved — exactly the opposite as to what it was with Measure V.

The Hart district could benefit from some extra time to revise its present wish list of projects and bring us a more realistic one.

For now, just vote no on SA.

Eduardo Espana is a resident of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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