Dixon, CA—It's your money, and the state of California is wasting it. You may be thinking 'what's new?' but this one defies logic: how can you explain spending 71-cents to send out payments of just one cent?
Here's how it happen:
California Farmers like Casey Stone of Yolo County pay property tax on what their land produces, not on what it'd be worth if there were a house, or a strip mall on it.
"That's the long term battle about keeping open space in California," Stone explains.
And the State of California used to help in that battle by making-up for the lower property taxes with payments to cities and counties. That is, until the Great Recession. Now, the State pays $1,000. And that's a total; $1000 divided between all the cities and counties.
"It's a pointless number. It just keeps the operation on the books," Stone says.
But more than pointless, in the case of 6 counties and cites, the payment was only pennies. And that's les than the 71 cents it cost to process the payment and get a receipt. 71 cents to send a single penny to Camarillo. 71 cents to send 49 cents of Nevada County. And that's money those cities and counties used to rely on.
Would Casey Stone's land be a strip mall without the help?
"Stranger things have happened," he says.
Yolo County, where Stone's ranch is located, saw its payment from the State cut to $37.30, down from $1,159, 256.70. But the hardest hit by far is Fresno County. They used to get more than 4-million-750-thousand dollars. Now, they're getting 150 bucks.
In the long term, the farmers the counties and the cities say, that's just not going to cut it. There is a bill in the Assembly right now to restore funding to the program back to the 35 million it used to receive.