Judge hands 49ers a $180M property tax cut for Levi’s Stadium

Win over disputed amount saves NFL team $6M a year on Santa Clara gridiron

Judge Hands 49ers $180M Property Tax Cut at Levi’s Stadium
Superior Court Judge Helen Williams and San Francisco 49ers' Jed York with (YouTube, San Francisco 49ers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

The San Francisco 49ers have rushed for a $180 million win in the team’s appeal for a property tax cut for its lease at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

A Santa Clara County judge has approved a property tax cut of $180 million for the NFL team for more than 30 years left on its lease for the stadium at 4900 Marie P DeBartolo Way, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing court records.

Superior Court Judge Helen Williams rejected a lawsuit filed by Santa Clara County Assessor Lawrence Stone challenging the taxable value of the stadium as set in 2019 by an assessment appeals board.

The ruling buttressed an earlier court decision to cut the 49ers’ property tax bill for the publicly owned stadium from $12 million to $6 million a year.

As a result of the ruling, the Santa Clara Unified School District will continue to lose $2.4 million in revenue a year, or $72 million in all, while the county will take a $32 million loss over the life of the lease.

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The City of Santa Clara will lose $24 million in expected tax revenue over 30 years, according to the Chronicle, citing court records.

The judge wrote in her decision that the assessor’s lawsuit failed to show the appeals board did anything wrong in resetting the 49ers’ property taxes in 2019. 

There was no proof the board’s decision was illegal, arbitrary or lacking in “substantial evidence,” she wrote. The lawsuit was “denied in its entirety,” the judge wrote.

The judge issued a tentative decision in September suggesting she would reject the assessor’s lawsuit. County lawyers filed objections. The judge made her ruling final on Nov. 21.

— Dana Bartholomew

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