"Excess Real Estate Transfer Tax" was a concept created by City Council in 2009? when they woke up with a hang over from the 2003-2008 real estate bubble and felt guilty that we owed over a billion for retirement obligations and postponed infrastructure work like repaving roads.

RTTT revenue had zoomed up from something like 35Mill pre bubble to over 70Mill at the peak. Council spent every penny of it.

The idea would be that when and if we had another real estate boom, and we've had plenty of those booms and busts in Oakland history, that the "excess" over 40Mill would go to pay down the shady negative fund balances, build up  rainy day reserve, and ultimately pay something towards un and underfunded retirement cost obligations. 

Along comes the mini real estate bubble of 2013 and most of the council is hungry to spend the expected "excess" on ongoing operating expenses such as employee raises.  That would look really irresponsible, so instead the proposal by CM Larry Reid and seconded by most of the Council would allow the excess to be used to pay for any "one time" expenses, thus freeing up other revenue to spend. Slick because most residents have no idea what the implications are: the intent of he original ordinance to start paying down our long term obligations has been emasculated.

Link to the proposed amendment that will become law on June 27 2013 when a majority of Council will approve it. http://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1444282&GUID=BD5DE42D-A233-4003-A784-C47253EAE9FC

The full text of current ordinance is an addendum to Mayor Quan's original budget proposal.