Borgeas' Property Tax Bill Allows Wildfire and Disaster Victims More Time to Rebuild

SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 303, introduced by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), was approved by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a 5-0 vote today. Senate Bill 303 would give disaster victims a lifeline by extending the base year value transfer deadline by an additional two years.

Under SB 303, Californians would have more time to transfer the property tax base year value of their home, if it was damaged or destroyed during a Governor-declared disaster, to a comparable property located within the same county, provided it is acquired or newly constructed within seven years after the disaster. Current law only allows five years.

Almost immediately after a disaster the race against the clock to rebuild begins. An increase in wildfires compounded with the pandemic has led to a shortage in housing supply forcing residents to turn to manufactured homes instead of traditional stick-built homes.

“As California grapples simultaneously with a year-round wildfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic, we should ensure that government is more human,” said Senator Borgeas. “By extending the base year value transfer deadline by an additional two years, we give Californians more time to rebuild and recover from a tragic disaster. California should not force people out of home-ownership simply because an unanticipated disaster forces them into a higher property tax bracket when constructing a new home.”

Senate Bill 303 hits home for the residents of the 8th Senate District. In Calaveras County, the 2015 Butte Fire destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and the sheer number of displaced residents exhausted the supply of resources to rebuild.

The 2020 wildfire season was the worst in California’s modern history, burning more than 4.2 million acres. The Creek Fire destroyed 853 structures and burned approximately 379,895 acres of forest land in Fresno and Madera Counties.

In the last five years, seven of the ten most destructive fires have occurred including the 2018 Camp Fire, which burned more than 18,800 structures and took the lives of 86 people.