Business Watch: OC group seeks more money for Los Al Unified

Seth Eaker

Presence of Navy and JFTB bases within the district reduces education funding

With the debates about funding, taxes, health care and budget looming in both Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, locally, the West Orange County Legislative Committee is taking action close to home: our school district, Los Alamitos Unified.

You may not realize, but our community is impacted by a low level of property taxes for our school district.

This is for a simple reason: a huge amount of land that is owned by the federal government, the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach and the Joint Forces Training base in Los Alamitos.

If there is federal property within a district, education funding is significantly reduced, because no tax is paid on federal property.   These bases remove about 40 percent of the total district from its property tax rolls.

In 1994, the Improving America’s School Act was passed.

Title VIII, Impact Aid, Section 8001 Purpose, says, “In order to fulfill the Federal responsibility to assist with the provision of educational services to federally connected children, because certain activities of the Federal Government place a financial burden on the local educational agencies serving areas where such activities are carried out, and to help such children meet challenging State standards, it is the purpose of this title to provide financial assistance to local educational agencies that: (1) experience a substantial and continuing financial burden due to the acquisition of real property by the United States … ”

Congressman collects money for LAUSD

In November of 2010, Congressman Ed Royce, helped secure the remaining Fiscal Year 2007 funds, $861,887, owed to the Los Alamitos Unified School District for its Impact Aid program.

This completed the total from that year $3.5 million.  LAUSD is still owed funding for FY2008 through 2010.

The WOCLC unanimously has decided to send letters of support to Congressman Royce for his actions and Congressman Rohrabacher on this issue.

I, as chairman of the committee, wrote, “the federal government expects taxpayers and businesses to be timely with payments to the IRS.

“The business community fully supports our representative’s actions to acquire for our school district funding that is not only owed, but substantially overdue.  We applaud Congressman Royce and Rohrabacher for making this issue a priority.”  The committee is considering further action as determined by the Chamber member representatives.

Hot buttons which are currently being considered by the WOCLC include the federal health care program, regulation and taxes at the state level, and other measures like AB 32 which substantially impact business and our communities.

If you have interest in these issues because it impacts your business, please contact your local Chamber offices.

We all need to work together to ensure that our community gets treated fairly from Washington.

Seth Eaker is past president of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce.