Beall Proposes Measures to Help Seniors

January 11, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Jim Beall to expand the ability of seniors to transfer their property tax savings to a newly purchased home will be heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Jan. 13.

Senate Bill 378 and Senate Constitutional Amendment 9 would allow seniors to convey their property tax basis to another home even if the home they purchase has a higher sale price than their original home. Currently, seniors are permitted to transfer a lower base year assessed value of their old home to a new home but only if the replacement home is equal to or less than the value of the original residence.

"It's just doesn't make sense to deny this benefit to seniors who may be only $1 over the currently allowed amount," Senator Beall said.  "Also, by helping seniors move out of homes that are currently too large for them we will be adding to the stock of affordable housing -- this will be a great help to families just starting out.

"This proposal eliminates a problem for many seniors seeking to downsize their 'empty nest' who over the years have had the housing market move away from them. Moving to a newer but smaller home likely means having to buy a home that costs more than the price their current residence can fetch.’’

Under the legislation, the difference between the value of the replacement home and that of the original residence will be added to the base year assessed value to ensure the senior homeowner does not  receive more of a property tax benefit than that to which they are currently are entitled to.

To institute this change, the voters must approve SCA 9 if it is passed by the Legislation and placed on the November 2016 ballot.  Senate Bill 378 contains the statutory language needed to implement the amendment to the state constitution.

The Governance and Finance Committee is scheduled to meet 9:30 a.m., Wednesday at Room 112.