Dan McAllister, the elected treasurer-tax collector, faced some serious bipartisan pressure over the last two weeks to announce some kind of break on property taxes. Those were due on April 10.
This week, County Supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond asked him to announce that restaurant owners and others could get a break on their dues and pay them in installments over the coming year. McAllister also heard from members of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, a group of business executives who lean conservative on political contests. They also pushed him to provide some kind of break.
But he has been steadfast: “Our first job is to collect as much money as is due,” he said. “We have been trying to communicate to people that it is important that they pay their taxes. The money is local and pays for schools and the county and cities and a variety of public safety and first responder services they’re relying on today.”
He said now the office would transition to hearing pleas from people who couldn’t make their payments.
“We will have the opportunity to talk to people about their concerns and why they may have been late, and it is up to us to show some compassion and review the supporting documentation they provide. It’s pretty easy to do,” McAlliser said.
One concerning number: McAllister reported that, right at the deadline Friday evening, only about 80 percent of people had made their second installment of property taxes. There are three major buckets of property taxpayers. One group is automatic: Mortgage lenders who pay on behalf of borrowers to ensure nobody messes it up. More than one-third of payers do it this way. It’s a lock. The second group pays in two installments: One starting in November and one in February, which is due now. And the third group are people who just pay online or in the mail on their own around this time.
That second group has only turned in about 80 percent of their second installments as of our press time.
Normally, more than 99 percent of taxpayers pay their taxes.