A Note from Assessor Prang’s Office – Property Taxes: Where Does the Money Go?
From the Assessor’s Office
Property Taxes: Where Does the Money Go?
By Jeff Prang
Los Angeles County Assessor
As we move closer to the end of our fiscal year on June 30 and the closing of the Assessment Roll, which determines the amount of money set forth for vital public services, I thought it would be helpful if I broke down in general where the money goes. The property tax revenue collected by Los Angeles County is distributed back to local governments, which include cities, schools and community colleges, special districts, and redevelopment agency successor entities. This past year, your property taxes generated an estimated $19 billion dollars. Here’s a look at where that money goes:*
School Districts – About 40%
Funding the public school system accounts for a significant percentage of money from local property taxes. Although both the federal and state governments kick in to help foot the nation’s education bill, local school districts still rely heavily on property taxes for financial support.
Unincorporated Areas – About 24 %
Communities that belong to the County but are not part of a city, and therefore, the County Board of Supervisors serve as city council, and the Supervisor representing the area serves as mayor. County Departments provide the municipal services.
Incorporated Cities – About 15%
Los Angeles County has 88 incorporated cities, each with their own elected mayor and city councils.
Successor Agencies – About 14%
Manage redevelopment projects, make payments on enforceable obligations, and dispose of redevelopment assets and properties. Each Successor Agency has an Oversight Board that supervises its work. In Los Angeles County, there are five Oversight Boards organized by Supervisorial Districts.
Special Districts – About 7%
Agencies that provide services to local communities such as libraries, sanitation, water, cemetery, etc.
Some other breakouts:
Property taxes also pay for the salaries and supplies of public safety, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, or EMTs.
Like to jog, bike, and hike in your off-hours? Unless funded by the state, private donors or the U.S. Government, public parks and recreation facilities are usually built and maintained with property tax revenue.
Money from property taxes goes toward maintaining most of the nation’s public streets and roadways. Property taxes also pay for routine maintenance that ensures public safety on the roads. Maintenance includes making the necessary street light and traffic light repairs within a county or city limits. Although general maintenance also includes street cleaning and patching potholes, tax dollars also are used to make improvements.
*These percentages are approximate and change slightly each year based on property values and the apportionment formula. For more on apportionment, contact the Auditor-Controller at auditor.lacounty.gov.