Journal of Property Tax Assessment & Administration


California’s State-County Assessors’ Partnership Agreement Program (SCAPAP) provided selected counties with a dollar-for-dollar matching grant from the state for assessment administration over a three-year period from fiscal year 2015 through 2017. The policy goals for the grant were to boost local property tax collections and stimulate local spending on assessment administration. This study explores the effectiveness of the grant in accomplishing the second goal. Stimulated spending is the difference between assessors’ spending with the grant and their spending without the grant, but the policy evaluation problem is that we observe spending for participating counties only when they receive the grant. Spending levels when they do not receive the grant must be estimated. Using assessor expenditure data from 2007 through 2017 in a difference-in-difference research design, the study finds that for each $1 in state grants, counties provided 86 cents, which is consistent with counties reducing their baseline appropriations to assessors to divert some of the grant to other county functions. Nonetheless, the data also cannot rule out the possibility that counties fully matched the grant. The study provides compelling evidence supporting matching grants as a strategy to improve local investment in assessment administration.


Property tax administration - United States; Public finance