Yee to introduce disaster relief bill to help fire victims

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said today he will introduce legislation to provide disaster relief for people affected by last week's explosion and fire in San Bruno.

The bill, which has not yet been drafted and will likely be introduced during a special session of the Legislature this fall, will likely include a homeowner's property tax exemption and will allow taxpayers to deduct income loss from the disaster, said Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for Yee.

The blast that tore through the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood killed at least four people and injured more than 50 others. Thirty-seven houses were destroyed in the fire, and eight others were damaged.

Keigwin said the senator is hoping the bill can be introduced “sooner rather than later, and get this money to start rolling into the community.”

Yee's bill will also likely include assistance to San Mateo County and schools in the area by providing a one-year reimbursement from the state for property tax losses related to homes that were damaged or destroyed in the fire.

“Obviously these properties are not going to be assessed the same value anymore, and that reduction would be a reduction to the county and then the schools, so this bill would make sure the county doesn't see any less in property tax revenue,” Keigwin said.

Keigwin compared the bill to similar ones that recently provided disaster relief to other communities, such as those affected by wildfires in Southern California last year.

“Senator Yee has always supported those bills, and he expects his colleagues will do the same,” he said.

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