Staff Report

Assembly Bill 653, which would have extended tax exemptions to land under application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), was pulled by the bill’s sponsors from consideration by a State Senate sub-committee Monday, according to a news release.

The existing law grants property tax exemptions for all Indian reservation land, and AB 653 was sponsored by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash and authored by Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas of Los Angeles.

The County of Santa Barbara, the California State Association of Counties, the Rural County Representatives of California all formally opposed the bill, which had passed out of the State Assembly in early June. Assemblymember Monique Limón abstained in that vote because of the ongoing local process between the county and the tribe.

Third District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann remarked that the County opposed the bill, believing that the bill is in conflict with the California Constitution and includes vague and broad language creating a large tax loophole costing Santa Barbara County and similarly situated local governments significant revenue loss.

“AB 653 was a flawed bill and highly problematic for local governments across the State. I hope that by moving the bill to a two-year bill, there will be an opportunity to develop a more carefully crafted piece of legislation that could still address tribal housing needs,” Hartmann stated.

Supervisor Hartmann recognized State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the Tribe for working together to pull the legislation.