Thanks to DOB for sending in this article about how Prop 13 is being challenged :
Nancy Feidelman wasn’t interested in a political discussion when she saw a solicitor on her Oakland doorstep as she was preparing dinner.
But after canvasser Erica Bleicher started explaining her organization’s campaign to roll back a provision of Proposition 13 that benefits corporate commercial interests, Feidelman opened the door, cut a check and wrote a letter to her Assembly representative.
Bleicher’s nearly 2-year-old, Bay Area grassroots organization, Evolve, is getting unusual traction going door-to-door talking about something that has been unmentionable upon penalty of political death for three decades: repealing parts of Prop. 13, the 1978 ballot measure that capped property taxes and set high thresholds for how government can raise taxes.
There’s no doubt how liberal this Grand Lake neighborhood is. “Obamanos” is written across one home’s living room window; a sign saying “We are the 99 percent” sticks in the front yard of another. But across the state, many other Californians – even some Republicans – are ready to talk about changing Prop. 13.
“This has been an issue that has upset the community for years, and the Oakland public schools are suffering,” Feidelman said. Nodding toward Bleicher, she said, “This seems like an immediate, local, direct way to do something about it.”
Evolve, as do some other groups, wants to close a provision of the law that deals with how commercial properties are taxed.
Under the law, an assessment is triggered only if a single entity owns more than 50 percent of the property – a loophole that many corporations easily circumvent, robbing the state of billions of dollars in tax revenue.
Over the years, politicians including former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, an independent from San Francisco, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, have tried to close this loophole. Ammiano intends to try again.
Today, the atmosphere may be more receptive. The presidential campaign brought a more intense focus on wealth inequities in the United States, education funding continues to drop in California, and the state’s voters are seemingly open to tinkering with the tax structure after approving Proposition 30 in November, which raised taxes.
“I don’t think the public is ready to go crazy on this, but they’re ready to listen to arguments that they wouldn’t have a few years ago,” said Mike Herald, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, which advocates for the state’s poorest residents.
“And if anything is going to happen, it is going to have to come from the public,” Herald said. “The Legislature and the governor are not going to be in front on this. They’re going to wait and see where the public is going.”
In addition to Ammiano’s move on commercial property, state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill that would lower the majority required in local elections to raise parcel taxes to fund schools from two-thirds to 55 percent.
That measure would have to pass both chambers by a two-thirds majority and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown before it could be put before voters on a statewide ballot in the fall of 2014.
That will give organizations like Bleicher’s some time to rally supporters in areas of the state less liberal than Oakland. Evolve organizers believe they’re there.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/Prop-13-revision-efforts-pick-up-steam-4144515.php
I think parts of prop 13 do need to be addressed/repealed. I don’t think it’s fair that children of the homeowners get to keep the tax value after their parents passed. It was originally to allow the elderly to stay in their homes, but children and businesses have been able to take advantage of it. It’s not fair to me that the same house next door can pay 3x the property tax of the prop 13 house and use the same/less government services. I think property taxes need to be affordable/reasonable for everyone, not just those lucky enough to have bought a home prior to prop 13 (who have benefitted by major home value increases that the rest of us have not).
Be careful what you wish.
They wanted to raise taxes on corporations and I did nothing because I wasn’t a corporation. Then they wanted to raise taxes on second homes and I did nothing because I didn’t own a second home. Then they wanted to raise taxes on ocean front property….
I agree with justsayin, that like in most other states the tax value ought to rise on the house being inherited. Otherwise Ca is like NYC and its inherited rent controlled apartments, where some are paying 1950s rents today. Any relief should be limited to the longer living of the married couple or single person owning the house.
I had just moved back to California in 1978 from Pho-town, and got to witness Howard Jarvis pitching Prop 13 regularly on TV. He was an incredible advocate – here is a snippet:
As long as they’re simply closing the loophole for transactions going forward I’m all for it. Anything else will just accelerate the business exodus out of CA.
And yes, I’d also ditch the inheritance exception, the over-55 transfer exception, and trigger reassessment when a refi exceeds the original basis.
As a long time California resident, let me say that if prop 13 is revised, the revenue will simply be squandered by the deep blue government. Believe me, it’s not going to keep your taxes down, it’s going for more constituency vote buying.
The presently considered change in prop 13 will also constitute a tax increase on businesses in California – with a 12+ percent unemployment rate that strikes me as unbelievably short sighted.
The egocentric attitudes expressed by some of my fellow a Babyboomers is embarrassing. It’s time we admit the premise behind Prop 13 was/is ‘we’ve got our piece of paradise & now we’ll lock the door behind us’ which basically guarantees that our own children & grandchildren will never be able to get a decent education, buy a home or live in a clean & healthy California.
Good news, now we have an opportunity to rectify some of the damage, by removing bloodsucking carnivorous corporations reaping huge tax breaks under Prop 13.