Property Tax Break for 49ers Draws Ire of County Assessor

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – In yet another fight between the San Francisco 49ers and the public entities with jurisdiction over their stadium, Santa Clara County appealed a recent decision Monday that cut the team’s property taxes in half.

Filing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, county assessor Larry Stone said the decision by the Santa Clara County Assessment Appeals Board, which regulates property taxes, to halve what the 49ers must pay violates the California Constitution.

“The AAB’s failure to perform its core duty to assess the 49ers’ taxes based on a reasonable calculation of the full value of its possessory interest will drastically and immediately slash revenue for local schools and public services,” Stone says in the complaint. “And, if left unchallenged, the AAB’s decision corrodes public confidence in the tax system’s rationality and fairness.”

The 49ers acknowledged the suit in a short statement released by team spokesman Rahul Chandhok, but did not comment further. The team is not a party to the lawsuit.

The team moved to Santa Clara County from San Francisco, paying approximately $1.3 billion to construct what was billed as a state-of-the-art stadium that opened in 2014. Santa Clara city and county officials touted the stadium as a way to bolster their coffers, but the initial enthusiasm has worn off and given way to acrimony and litigation.

The fights, many of which have landed in court, have centered on curfews, broken promises to build soccer fields and whether the team is paying its full rent.

In the present case, the 49ers argued the stadium, which was valued at around $890 million with the land assessed at $71 million, is shared by the city and county which should share the burden of the property taxes.

Stone said that because the 49ers are the primary holders of the right to use the stadium, both for National Football League games and concerts and other events, the team should be on the hook for the full amount.

The approved reduction will slash property tax revenues from $12 million to $6 million, with huge funding implications for the Santa Clara Unified School District and other public entities, according to the lawsuit.

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