Assemblyman Michael Allen will no longer receive a homeowner’s tax exemption after a complaint claiming that he was no longer eligible to collect the funds was filed by the campaign treasurer of his opponent.
Allen moved from Oakmont in Sonoma County to downtown San Rafael last October following state redistricting that split his 7th Assembly District. Until Wednesday morning when he visited the Sonoma County Assessor to update to his files, he received a tax exemption on his Oakmont subdivision.
The complaint was filed by San Rafael resident Bruce Raful, a certified real estate appraiser who serves as campaign treasurer to Marc Levine, Allen’s opponent in the Nov. 6 election for Jared Huffman’s seat in 10th Assembly District, the Marin Independent Journal reports. Raful has contributed $1,750 to Levine’s campaign.
According to the California Constitution, homeowners are entitled to $7,000 off the value of their property before taxes. Allen’s adjustment came in at $70.
“Mr. Allen left Oakmont for San Rafael in October of last year when he re-registered there to vote, so he wasn't entitled to the exemption that he claimed on January 1 of 2012. In my book, that's cheating," Raful told the Marin IJ.
Homeowners sign up for the exemption when they buy their property, and it does not require renewal every year. Sonoma County Assessor Janice Atkinson told the Marin IJ that it is common for homeowners to forget about the exemption when they move.
“The fact that Marc Levine would rather talk about a $70 tax adjustment than any of the real economic challenges facing our community shows the desperation of his campaign and his unfitness to be our representative,” said Jill Nelson Golub, a spokeswoman for the Allen campaign.
In July, Levine was slapped on the wrist from the Fair Political Practices Commission for a paperwork error after he failed to accurately report his sources of income. Following the June 5 primary, where Levine came in second to Allen, the San Rafael City Council member failed to disclose that his wife, who works as the director of development at Saint Mark’s School in San Rafael, earns between $10,000 and $100,000.
Candidates are required to report earnings from businesses that are located in their jurisdiction, and Levine thought school districts were not included. He made the same mistake while running for City Council in 2009.
"Michael Allen and his campaign have no business attacking Marc Levine," said Leo Wallach, a spokesman for Marc Levine. "The real issue is that Michael Allen only moved to Marin for political reasons. Renting an apartment in San Rafael but claiming an tax exemption on the home Allen still has outside the district raises questions that Allen would rather avoid."