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Chuck Molnar, Senior Corner: Property tax postponement program could aid seniors facing eviction

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Assembly Bill 1090 introduced by Assemblyman Robert Blumenfield of Van Nuys would re-establish a property tax postponement program for California seniors and the disabled.

The state Controller's Office estimates that approximately 200,000 Californians took advantage of the original program over the 30 years it existed. That program was suspended in 2009 because of the current economic situation. Blumenfield's bill would shift implementation of the program from the state to the individual counties wishing to participate.

Last year AB1090 passed the Legislature unanimously but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger because counties were required to place a "super lien" on the property of participants. A "super lien" would place the county in first place ahead of mortgage lenders and other lien holders.

Blumenfield has since amended his bill allowing counties to have only a" simple lien" status. Qualifying participants in the program must pay a nominal administrative fee to the county, agree to the lien and pay interest on the loan. The program gives low-income seniors and the disabled, unable to pay their property taxes, the ability to remain in their homes. The loan is paid in full out of the proceeds of the sale of the home in the event of the individual's death, move from the home or sale of the home.

The revised bill has passed the Assembly unanimously and is currently in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee for review. Needless to

say, many low-income seniors and disabled are counting heavily on this bill to help them.

If it passes the Senate, it still must go to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. Assemblyman Bill Monning is a co-sponsor, as is Assemblyman Jared Huffman and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada. AB1090 is supported by the AARP, the California Senior Legislature, California Realtors Association and the State of California Association of Counties.