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Senate Leader Shoots Down City's Attempt To Take More Tax Money

Capitol Alert
September 9, 1999

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The state Senate's leader has shot down an attempt by a Republican lawmaker to shift property tax money from San Bernardino County to the city of Hesperia.

The Senate voted 22-17 Tuesday to reject a bill by Assemblyman Keith Olberg, R-Victorville, after Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, demanded a vote against the bill.

Burton said the bill only got out of committee to give Olberg some leverage in negotiating with the county on behalf of Hesperia.

"It's very bad policy to let cities rip off county money," Burton said.

But Sen. Pete Knight, D-Palmdale, said Hesperia needs more tax revenue to pay for roads, flood control and other infrastructure improvements.

"They cannot get funds from any place else so they have come to the state to help them build infrastructure," Knight said.

When Hesperia was incorporated in 1988 it got 1.7 percent of the property tax revenue that went to the county. City officials say that gives the city less than $400,000 a year in property taxes, making it difficult to pay for public works projects to attract new business.

Discussions between the county and city have not resulted in an agreement giving the city a bigger share of property tax money.

Olberg's bill would use a complicated formula to gradually boost Hesperia's property tax income to about $1.9 million a year.

When Olberg appeared on the Senate floor, Burton angrily told him not to lobby senators for votes for the bill. "Don't even start," he told Olberg.

Copyright (c) The Sacramento Bee

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