Occidental Petroleum requesting $27 million tax refund, county faces massive tax revenue cut

Refund means county faces massive tax revenue cut

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A major local taxpayer is asking for its money back, which means a huge cut in tax revenue for the county.

County legislative analyst Allan Krauter says Occidental Petroleum sent incomplete tax information and did not make corrections before the filing deadline resulting in a miscalculation of the property value---which Oxy alleges dropped by $2.5 billion.

Now Oxy wants a $27 million tax refund for each year until the calculation is fixed.

Tax revenue that would otherwise go towards county services and education.
"That's a big deal for us," said Kern County Water Agency General Manager.

That's because a miscalculation of Occidental Petroleum's oilfield property value means Oxy is asking for an appeal and 18 agencies face losing a total of $27.3 million in last year's tax revenue and another $27.3 million for each passing year.

"It will have an impact for the current fiscal year and fiscal years going forward," said Krauter.

Agencies impacted include the Kern High School District, County Superintendent Of Schools and several Recreation and Parks departments.

The county general fund faces the biggest tax revenue hit- $7.4 million.

But county legislative analyst Allan Krauter says they have reserves to cover the loss.

"We don't expect it to have much of an impact on county services," said Krauter.

Even though County Fire Department's fund will lose nearly $4 million in tax revenue.

"People shouldn't notice any drop in fire protection or sheriff protection. We try to keep the cuts as far away from taxpayers as possible," said Krauter.

The Kern County Water Agency says it has reserves to help cover their $264,000 loss.

"We'll also be looking at additional reductions in services and contracts," said County Water Agency general manager Jim Beck.

The Kern Community College District will lose one million dollars of its share but Bakersfield college won't be hit as hard.

"Ultimately we're going to see a reduction of $20,000 of our operating budget once all our finances are worked out and allocation is split among 68 different districts," said BC spokesperson Amber Chiang.

Krauter says the county will hire an outside firm to comb over all of Oxy's tax information before the appeal is considered. Krauter says in the meantime, the county will act as though it has lost the tax revenue.

"You plan for the worst and hope for the best," said Krauter.

Here's a list of agencies impacted by the requested $27.3 million annual tax refund:

Est. Refund
County General Fund
County Fire Fund
West Side Cemetery
West Side Hospital
West Side Mosquito Abatement
Buttonwillow Rec & Park Dist
West Side Rec & Park M&O
Kern County Water Agency
Buttonwillow Union School District
Elk Hills School District
McKittrick School District
Taft City School District
Kern High School District
Taft Union High School District
Kern Community College District
West Kern Community College District
Education-Kern Superintendent of Schools
Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF)


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