Assessor Appeals Huge 49ers Tax Break After City Threatens to Sue

By Robert Haugh

Last week, we heard rumblings that the City was preparing to go to court to challenge the 49ers’ huge tax break that the Assessment Appeals Board gave them.

But now the City doesn’ t have to. County Assessor Larry Stone appealed the decision on Monday.

According to City Hall sources, Stone and the County were informed last Friday that the city would file a lawsuit this week.

Hanson Bridgett was hired to represent the city. The law firm represented the City when the 49ers tried to reduce their own stadium rent. And they won big. The decision was so big in the City’s favor that they got a Leg Drop Award.

Here’s what the City said in a press release Monday afternoon:

“While City officials were prepared to take similar legal actions, we are satisfied that Assessor Stone’s actions demonstrate his understanding of the seriousness of the situation as well as his commitment to objective assessments based on facts and data.

“The City believes Assessor Stone’s position for the appeal is strong and will correct this flawed outcome, resulting in the County Assessor’s original assessment being restored. In 2010, the 49ers appeared to fully support and understand the millions of dollars in tax revenue that would go to the community from their stadium interest as demonstrated through campaign materials in support of Measure J that would bring a stadium to Santa Clara.”

The County sent out a press release a few hours earlier. They finally told the public how big the tax break really is:

“The Assessment Appeals Board decision resulted in a one-time refund of over $36 million, and an estimated on-going annual property tax reduction of $6 million.  The Santa Clara Unified School District absorbed the greatest reduction of over $13 million. The agencies affected also include the West Valley Community College (over $3 million), the City of Santa Clara (about $3 million), and the Santa Clara County general fund (over $5 million).  Several other public agencies refunded the balance.”

It’s not just a one-time $36 million as Stone was saying months ago. It’s $6 million a year. And the 49ers have a 40-year stadium lease. So it’s $240+ million. Wow.

We think it’s the biggest tax break in County history unless it’s overturned. Let’s hope Stone and the County don’t blow it.

Editor’s Note: We’ll recap Tuesday’s City Council meeting tomorrow.


  1. This is a breath of Fresh Air. Larry, I am glad I voted for you but won’t guarantee you’ll be welcome at Levi’s a Stadium this Season.

  2. oh good because I was tempted to write to the Tax Assessor and ask for a reduction in my city taxes after all about 10 hours of the day I’m not in my house at least 5 days a week, I don’t see why I should pay city taxes if I’m not in my house. Bit like their logic right? Precedence is being set by them. Imagine if all SC City residents went and asked for a reduction based on how he sees the ‘owner ship’ of the stadium. I would also like to have my share of taxes given to schools returned to me, my children never used the public school system and further more they are now grown and left the State. Time for me to have some ‘tax relief’ just like the niners and their BS

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