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Bill Would Ease San Bruno Property Tax for Victims (Bay Citizen)
September 15, 2010
By Gerry Shih
Victims of the San Bruno fire would be exempted from property taxes and San Mateo County and local school districts would be reimbursed for lost tax revenues if a bill authored by State Senator Leland Yee makes it though the Legislature.
Yee, who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, said a bill backed by Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg is currently being drafted and could be submitted to a special legislative session as early as Friday. Only a majority vote would be needed to pass the measure during special session; it would be take effect immediately.
The measure is similar to legislation enacted after major disasters in recent years, such as the wildfires that ravaged neighborhoods surrounding San Diego. But with the state mired in a fiscal crisis and legislators still deadlocked over the overdue budget, Yee sought to play down the fiscal impact of his bill.
"The question is always, how can we find the money in these tight economic times," Yee said in an interview. "But the question is also, how can we not," Yee's staff estimated that the fiscal impact of the bill would be between $1-2 million.
Thirty-seven homes have been completely destroyed by the fire, and it is unclear how hard-hit property values for the rest of the neighborhood will be.