The California Association of Realtors president sent this letter out today with different verbiage about the reassessment of commercial properties – the way it sounds in her letter (in italics below) makes it sound different than what’s been widely published. I can’t find any changes to the original measure, excerpted here:

The measure requires commercial and industrial properties, as well as vacant land not intended for housing, commercial agriculture, or protected open space to be taxed based on their market value, as opposed to their purchase price. A property’s market value is what it could be sold for today. The measure’s shift to market value assessment is phased in over a number of years beginning in 2022-23. For properties in which the majority of space is occupied by small businesses—defined as businesses that own California property and have 50 or fewer employees—the shift to market value taxation would not begin until 2025-26 or a later date set by the Legislature.

Properties owned by individuals or businesses whose property holdings in the state total less than $3 million (adjusted for inflation biannually beginning in 2025) are exempt from market value taxation. These properties would continue to be taxed based on purchase price. Similarly, residential properties would continue to be taxed based on purchase price.

May 6, 2020

Dear Jim,

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing some of the biggest challenges in a generation, experiencing severe stress and uncertainty with our businesses, our families and our way of life. Our daily lives have changed overnight, and as we prepare to transition to a new normal, we, at C.A.R., are focused on addressing our members’ most immediate needs and advancing policies that will strengthen economic recovery and the housing market, supporting REALTORS®, our clients and our communities.

I am writing today to share the news that after collecting and submitting nearly 1.5 million signatures, C.A.R.’s ballot initiative has recently qualified for the November 2020 ballot — and at our C.A.R. Board of Directors meetings last week, the Board overwhelmingly voted to lead the campaign effort to win passage of The Family Home Protection and Fairness in Property Tax initiative in the upcoming election.

The Family Home Protection and Fairness in Property Tax initiative is needed now more than ever and is key to a California Housing Market Economic Recovery. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the way we work and live, C.A.R.’s actions placed us in the position we are in today to support this initiative: providing housing relief for millions of seniors, improving homeownership opportunities throughout the state, and generating needed revenues for local school districts, cities and counties to help fill budget deficits and critical funding for schools, public safety, healthcare and homeless services, local housing projects and more.

In April 2019, C.A.R.’s Board of Directors supported the first official step in the initiative process by submitting it to the Attorney General. Then in October 2019, the Board of Directors supported funding the qualification and signature collection to place this initiative on the ballot. The campaign’s efforts resulted in submitting a record number of signatures in time for the November ballot — qualifying the measure under budget, with over $1 million in cost-savings.

This initiative is a win-win for everyone — creating relief for seniors and victims of wildfires, homeownership opportunities throughout the state and needed revenue for local government and school districts at a time when they need it most.

Key Provisions: 

Benefits Homeowners, Seniors, People with Disabilities and Natural Disaster Victims

This initiative removes unfair location and price restrictions, so that homeowners 55 years or older, people with severe disabilities, and victims of wildfires or natural disasters can transfer their existing property tax base to a replacement home anywhere in California. Without this change, many have felt trapped in their homes and could not afford to move closer to their families or health care facilities. This eliminates hurdles for homeowners, including those in our most vulnerable population at this most critical time.

Constitutionally Protects Family Homes

The initiative protects the right of parents and grandparents to pass the family home on to their children, so they can afford to live in the home. This family home tax savings, termed a “special rule” in the State Legislature, has been targeted by the media and by state legislators for removal. This initiative safeguards family homes as intended under Proposition 58 and Proposition 193.

Benefits Local Communities and Schools

This initiative provides long-term benefits for local municipalities and schools, generating hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund public safety, hospitals, health care services, homeless programs and local housing projects. The initiative does not raise or change tax rates, it simply defines events that may trigger future limited assessments. For example, the initiative requires disclosure and reporting of corporate ownership changes and reassessment of business property resulting from certain ownership changes — which will generate over $269 million per year, according to the California Board of Equalization. This modest reform is even backed by business groups.

We are supporting this initiative because we believe it is a policy that the housing market desperately needs for economic recovery, addressing the housing needs of millions of Californians, while providing revenue for schools and local communities. This is why recent polling conducted this past month confirms consistent voter support across the state for the initiative’s provisions.

As California transitions to a new normal, this initiative has come at an important moment. It will help ease housing affordability and accessibility for Californians, stimulate the housing market and provide funding for our local municipalities and schools.

I am proud to announce C.A.R.’s full support of The Family Home Protection and Fairness in Property Tax initiative and hope you will join me in helping to win its passage in November.


Jeanne Radsick
C.A.R. President

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