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I've purposely stayed out of it since a) I don't know anything about the specific tax being discussed

A Mello Roos district is a way around California's infamous proposition 13 limit on property taxes. The general limit is 1% of a property's assessed value. (Prop 13 also put some weird calculations of assessed value in place so that many properties are assessed at a value far less than their market value.)

To get a Mello Roos district, the local voters have to elect to be taxed for some special purpose. But here's the key - if there are less than 12 registered voters in the proposed district, the landowners can approve the district. So most of these districts are put in place for new developements when the developer still owns all of the land.

If anyone is interested in reading a description of these districts, here's one that I found.

and b) I'm pretty much of the school that says if it's based on the value of the property and it's recurring, deduct it.

Technically, they're not value-based, but follow the characteristics of the property - parcel size, square footage of improvements, etc. But I've never let that bother me. I still deduct 'em.

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