Organ Donor Awareness Month
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The month of April is recognized as National Donate Life Month. National Donate Life Month was established in 2003 by President George W. Bush. Throughout the month, people across the United States acknowledge and celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming an organ, tissue, marrow, or blood donor.
Right now, there are over 20,000 Californians who are waiting for an organ transplant, 21% of the 94,000 people waiting throughout the country. Tragically, one third of them will die waiting. I understand the importance of being an advocate for organ donation.
People of all ages are potential organ donors. There are several types of donations that can be made. Organ donations include hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers and pancreas. Tissue donations include corneas, middle ear, cartilage and veins. Blood and platelets can also be donated. All of us have something to offer.
In California, we have an organization that assists with the registration process. Donate Life California is a nonprofit organ and tissue donor registry dedicated to saving the lives of Californians awaiting transplants. They match potential donors with individuals who are in need of a transplant.
I encourage you to register with DonateLifeCalifornia.org, designate your decision on your driver’s license, and carry a donor card.
Tax Relief for Senior and Disabled Homeowners Via Adoption of Proposition 90 Ordinance
I recently introduced a tax relief program for senior and disabled homeowners (Proposition 90) in San Bernardino County for a period of five years. The Board voted on March 24, 2008 to review the proposal at length and inform effected entities of its particulars and benefits. The proposal stems from a recommendation made by the 2004-05 Grand jury.
Proposition 90 was passed by the voters in November 1988, amending Article XIII of the California State Constitution. Prop. 90 plays a complementary role to Prop. 60, which is currently in-effect in San Bernardino County. They both allow transfers of base year value from a principal place of residence to a replacement residence for those over 55 or permanently disabled.
However, Prop. 60 only allows for intra-county transfers. Prop. 90 extends transfers of base year value for qualified homeowners to also apply to inter-county transfers, when the Board of Supervisors adopts an ordinance accepting such transfers from other counties.
If adopted it would the provisions of Prop. 90 effective in San Bernardino County, allow buyers coming from any of the 57 other counties in the state to transfer their favorable Prop. 13 tax basis from their prior principal place of residence and apply them as the taxable value of their replacement homes in this county.
Seven counties currently have an ordinance enabling an inter-county base year transfer: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Ventura. By joining these counties, San Bernardino County would be considerably more attractive as a destination for home buying than the 50 counties in California that do not have a Prop. 90 ordinance.
Many of the counties with a Prop. 90 ordinance currently in effect are coastal counties with relatively high property values. Prop. 90 requires the market value (generally, the purchase price) of the new property to be of equal or lesser market value (again, generally the purchase price) than the original property. As San Bernardino County has relatively low property values, it would likely be a more attractive option than the other seven counties with a Prop. 90 ordinance.
The local housing market would further benefit by reducing the number of vacant housing stock due to the current market and increases in foreclosures throughout San Bernardino County.
Currently, San Bernardino County accepts intra-county transfers pursuant to Prop. 60. This allows homeowners over 55 or who are permanently disabled to transfer their base year value from a principal place of residence in San Bernardino County to a replacement home in this county. In 2006, approximately 600 of these transfers were processed.
Implementing a Prop. 90 ordinance in San Bernardino County would greatly increase its attraction to those looking to purchase a new home. Many of those 55 and older who have owned their homes for considerable periods of time will receive the greatest benefit from a Prop. 90 ordinance. This increase in the number of stable homeowners will also likely affect the sales tax, vehicle license fees, and other forms of revenue in a very positive way.
Most current economic indicators point to a significant cooling in the housing market. Having a Prop. 90 ordinance in effect would almost certainly help San Bernardino County, in the coming years, to better weather this downturn, and make this county a destination county, as one of the few areas with both a Prop. 90 ordinance and relatively low property values.
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