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Allen Corrects Tax Exemption on Oakmont Home Following Complaint

The road to the California State Assembly continues, and both candidates have confronted paperwork errors along the way.

Assemblyman Michael Allen will no longer receive a homeowner’s tax exemption after a complaint 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's Office 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." 

voultron September 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM
When will the Levine campaign start discussing real issue that impact Marin and Sonoma residents? A minor tax issue certainly doesn't rise to a level of importance to anyone except for a desperate campaign looking for mud to sling. Regarding the Levine campaign, as a past presidential candate once said, "Where's the beef?" Perhaps Mr. Levine will start telling us his position on important issues instead of cooking up distraction and silly attacks on his opponent. One can only hope.
Bob September 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Michael Allen wants to be a career politician. He moved to Marin County to be eligible to run for the Assembly spot that is being vacated by Jered Huffman. Mr. Allen is also the co-author of AB 1389 which allowed for illegal immigrants stopped while driving without a drivers license to not have their car impounded. Folks like Michael Allen and Gavin Newsom , with your sanctuary city ideas, are putting illegal immigrants rights before those of our citizens. I am wondering if Mr. Allen actually moved to San Rafael or did he rent a place to use as his legal address but really does not live there. That would be very sleazy
Will Lamers September 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Hi Bob - Please point out to me where in AB 1389 it states that illegal immigrants would not have their car impounded. Is the issue with sobriety checkpoints getting drunks off the road, or is it to round up Mexicans? Are you trying to say that getting the Mexicans out of America is more important than getting people like Edward Shaefer off the streets? How about telling that to the families affected by drunk drivers...
Sara September 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
"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" Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me. Not reporting your spouses income of "between 10 and 100 thousand" is a much greater transgression than automatically taking a $70 deduction for a home that was eligible for 3/4 of the prior year, three months later when filing.

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