The ability to assist taxpayers and provide meaningful service to the public are some of the most gratifying aspects of serving as assessor of the nation’s most populous county.
For instance, while California assessors are tasked with identifying and appraising property for taxation purposes, this work serves as the foundation for a property tax system that supports vital local services such as education and public safety. Last year alone, the combined value of Los Angeles County’s 2.56 million assessments was a record $1.474 trillion, generating $14 billion for our 88 cities, 81 school districts, 35 departments of county government, and numerous special districts.
This is also why I am so proud of my initiative to relieve tens of thousands of small businesses of the business personal property tax burden. As a direct result of the reform I championed, small business owners across Los Angeles County received more than $3.4 million in annual tax relief.
Under Proposition 13, businesses pay a business personal property tax based on the value of machinery, equipment, and furniture used in the operations of the enterprise. Many of these businesses are required to file a business personal property statement, but the task of preparing and filing these statements can be a time-consuming, costly burden. For county government, the expense of processing the lowest of these statements is more than twice what is actually collected in property taxes.
To both alleviate this burden on small business and achieve greater efficiency, I proposed raising the minimum threshold for reporting and paying the business personal property tax from $2,000 to $5,000. With the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, an estimated 50,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs were altogether relieved of this burden and removed from the tax roll.
Small businesses are an essential part of our communities. In every neighborhood across Los Angeles County, there are hundreds of small, locally-owned establishments that provide some of our most valued services and products. From cafes and bakeries, to hardware stores and auto repair shops, these small businesses meet the essential needs of those who make up our neighborhoods while at the same time providing necessary jobs and economic well-being.
Eliminating this type of inefficiency for our local businesses is not only good for consumers and local economies, but it also helps to raise efficiency and productivity for county government. As assessor, I will continue to offer innovative solutions that support local jobs and the economy, while fairly and accurately assessing property.
Jeffrey Prang was elected in 2014 as the 27th assessor of the County of Los Angeles. He represents nearly 11 million residents, with a staff of 1,400 across six offices. He leads the largest public assessment agency in the United States and is responsible for the valuation of 2.56 million parcels valued in 2017 at $1.474 trillion.