April 28, 2011

How Homeowners in PQ, Carmel Mtn Rnch, Sabre Sprgs and RB Get Dinged for Poway's WalMart

Wal-Mart has proposed expanding the Poway store into a super-store. The DEIR (draft environmental impact report) is available online. I've only scanned it. But the parts I have read seem kind of ridiculous. For example, the report says that the noise from increased traffic will have no significant impact because people can't hear that when they are outside. Uh...right. And the diversion of sales from other retailers and groceries in the area? Wal-Mart doesn't see any significant impact from that either because they are only going to sell a small amount of food. So they say in the DEIR.

One area the Wal-Mart DEIR did not touch on is the impact to PUSD school funding. The biggest chunk of school funding comes from property tax. Because Wal-Mart is in Poway's redevelopment area, almost all of the property tax from Wal-Mart's current store and all of the new property tax from Wal-Mart's expansion will go to Poway's redevelopment agency. Almost none of that property tax goes to PUSD.

Compare that to the property tax on the adjacent parcel on the corner of Poway & Community Rd, the shopping center with Vons on it. That parcel is not in the Poway Redevelopment Agency area. About 40% of the property taxes from that parcel go to PUSD. When the residential, commercial and industrial property owners in Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Sabre Springs and 4S Ranch pay their property taxes, about 40% of their taxes goes to PUSD. When Wal-Mart and Costco (in Poway) and Home Depot (in Poway) and every industrial park owner pay their property tax, almost nothing goes to PUSD. When the home owners of Old Coach, Bridlewood and Rancho Arbolitos developments pay their property tax, almost nothing goes to PUSD.

PRA (Poway Redevelopment Agency) diverts about $39 million in property taxes every year. About $16 million of that would have gone to PUSD if PRA didn't exist. That amounts to almost $1700 for every student in a PUSD school located in Poway. So, who makes up for that $1700/student shortfall in funding? Partially, that funding is made up from property owners in RB, PQ, Carmel Mtn Ranch, Sabre Springs and 4S Ranch. In 2009, PUSD got about $97,252,000 from San Diego properties within the district and only $17,3000,000 from Poway properties. 85% of the property tax PUSD gets is from San Diego, 15% is from Poway. The rest of the funding is made up by the state.

One of the big ironies of this funding scheme is that PRA gives little (and big) gifts to PUSD. Gifts which enhance the Poway PUSD schools. Like the Performing Arts Center, multipurpose rooms and gyms and various other athletic facilities. PUSD does not get these "gifts" from the City of San Diego, because San Diego does not have a redevelopment area in PUSD boundaries. So, the non-Poway side of PUSD gets screwed twice. First, they pay a greater share of property tax funding to PUSD. And, their schools don't get gifted by any redevelopment agency.

Jerry Brown has proposed eliminating redevelopment agencies. It cannot happen too soon. Since his proposal was made in January, redevelopment agencies went out and spent about $800 billion. $800 billion with interest is at least $1.5 trillion dollars. That translates into almost $750 billion dollars robbed from school districts. In just the first 4 months of this year. How can the state make up that kind of money to the schools?

Brown needed Republican votes to pass an urgency measure to dissolve redevelopment agencies. He only got one. There is still a chance that a bill to end redevelopment will be passed as an urgency measure. But if the bill is passed by a simple majority, it may not go into effect until January 2012, although it could possibly be implemented sooner if it is part of the whole budget package.

Once the state ends the redevelopment program, the redevelopment agencies will cease to exist. They will be replaced with successor agencies. The successor agencies will be tasked with paying off the redevelopment debt. PRA has about $250 million in redevelopment debt. So, some of the property tax from Poway properties will be diverted to pay off that debt. The schools will likely not get their full share until that debt is paid off. It remains to be seen how much the state will subsidize PUSD and the other schools while that debt (which is still accruing) is being paid off.

Don't worry. PUSD has a plan. They have endorsed legislation that would lower the percent needed to pass a parcel tax from 66 2/3 % to 55%. A parcel tax is a tax that is uniform for every parcel in the district. That means the owner of a 2-bedroom condo with carport in RB will pay the exact same amount as a 10 bedroom Poway mansion with 6-car garage. The parcel tax can be used to pay for teacher salaries and operating expenses.

For years, PUSD has benefitted from redevelopment. They have gotten the state to make up the money they lost to PRA, while getting gifts bought with the money PRA diverted. It was almost too good to be true. Apparently they never stopped to think about what would happen when the state could no longer make up the millions and trillions of dollars that redevelopment agencies have diverted from schools. Or how much redevelopment debt is borrowed debt that encumbers future school funding. The state can't print money. If the burden becomes to big, the state cannot fill in the funding for the schools. We are already there and there are still billions and trillions to pay off. That means RB, PQ, Carmel Mtn Ranch and 4S Ranch are going to have to continue to pay a disproportionate share of PUSD school funding and they may end up paying an additional regressive parcel tax just so Poway Redevelopment Agency could keep the property tax from Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the north Poway mansions.


Joe said...

Thank you residents of PQ, RQ, and others for paying taxes that go to support our PUSD schools. I'm not in a redevelopment area so my taxes go to PUSD, too.

Anonymous said...

why worry the Owners of Toyota of Poway Vincent Castro and Troy Duhon got a cool three million of your money to build there new store. Get ready to pay the bill Poway residents. You can only shift money around for so long befor the Mayor and the City Council are looking for change in your couch. You might not have Medicade or Social Security much longer but you will have a Toyota store and a Wal-Mart!!! So keep putting lawyers and corporate board members into office and see what you get.