Farmer: Proposed changes to Proposition 13 could devastate family farms

The Democrats are working hard to tank what is left of the California economy.  AB 5 is killing hundreds of thousands of jobs—killing them as well as the virus is doing.  High taxes, bad regulations, use of gas tax money for trains to nowhere—making our roads unsafe.  November will see an attempt to transfer $12.5 billion a year from the private sector to government.  In the course of this corporations will go bankrupt, Businesses will simply close down and owners walk away.  Now we find family farms will also be killed.

“The certainty provided by Prop 13 in keeping property taxes predictable is a relief to farmers who have so many other uncertain issues to deal with – from the weather and water to drought and foreign trade deals.

But this new state ballot measure will destroy Prop 13, raising property taxes on agricultural improvements and fixtures. That means higher property taxes for structures necessary to perform the tasks involved with bringing food from farm to fork, including processing facilities, dairies, wineries, and packaging and distribution centers.

The property taxes on these structures will dramatically skyrocket if the initiative passes. In addition, fruit and nut trees and grapevines will be taxed at full market value after they reach maturity. Even irrigation systems, fences, silos, storage sheds, feedlots and wind machines will face higher property taxes!”

Food prices will go up.  California produce will be non competitive—other States and nations will get larger market share.  If I wanted to kill California jobs and the economy I would support a Split Roll.

Farmer: Proposed changes to Proposition 13 could devastate family farms

Eric Bream, Guest Columnist, Visalia Times Delta,   3/26/20   

As a third-generation family farmer who supports and defends farming at every turn, I’m stunned that a measure headed for the November statewide ballot could result in the further disappearance of farms and farmland.

Not only will the farming community directly suffer if the ballot initiative to raise property taxes by up to $12.5 billion annually passes, but the tax hike will also hurt all Californians by increasing the state’s already high cost of living.

While the proponents of the measure claim it will only raise property taxes for commercial and industrial properties, the reality is that the measure is an attack on farms, the fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products we produce and will ultimately translate to more expensive grocery bills for California families.

Like all Californians, farmers benefit from the predictability and certainty provided by Proposition 13, which calculates property taxes based on 1 percent of the property value at the time of purchase and caps increases at 2 percent a year, allowing property taxes to increase slowly and predictably. Prop 13 applies to commercial, industrial, agricultural and residential property.

The certainty provided by Prop 13 in keeping property taxes predictable is a relief to farmers who have so many other uncertain issues to deal with – from the weather and water to drought and foreign trade deals.

But this new state ballot measure will destroy Prop 13, raising property taxes on agricultural improvements and fixtures. That means higher property taxes for structures necessary to perform the tasks involved with bringing food from farm to fork, including processing facilities, dairies, wineries, and packaging and distribution centers.

The property taxes on these structures will dramatically skyrocket if the initiative passes. In addition, fruit and nut trees and grapevines will be taxed at full market value after they reach maturity. Even irrigation systems, fences, silos, storage sheds, feedlots and wind machines will face higher property taxes!

Without a doubt, the measure will be the largest property tax increase in California history. And farmers and consumers are the ones who will be paying it.

But the new state initiative goes even further to hurt farmers and their land. Property tax increases on business properties will create a major incentive for local governments to maximize the property tax hike by rezoning property away from agricultural use and allow for big commercial buildings.

As property taxes increase and farmers feel the squeeze, many will consider selling their property and more farmland will disappear. According to the California Department of Conservation, from 1984 to 2014 the state lost an estimated 1.4 million acres of farm and grazing lands. That is tragic for a generational family farmer like me.

When property taxes rise every year and fewer acres are available for production, costs will inevitably increase. Farmers pride ourselves on providing fresh, healthy and local products to our neighbors, the state and the country. California farmers feed America, but if this state initiative passes, products like fruits and vegetables, cheese, nuts and milk will all be more expensive for hardworking families.

California’s cost of living is already among the nation’s highest. We shouldn’t do anything to make it even more expensive to live here. The proposed property tax increase will only make life more difficult for California’s farmers and the families we help feed.

It’s baffling to me that anyone would want to raise the cost of healthy, locally grown food. Especially at a time when foreign supply chains are threatened by a global health crisis and families across the state are worried about an economic downturn. Now is not the time to pass the largest property tax increase in California history on the backs of hardworking farmers and families trying to put healthy food options on the dinner table.  

Eric Bream is a third-generation farmer in Tulare County and board member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Really??? says

    So what does Stack’m & Pack’m housing have to do with this???

    Simple another Democrat scheme that has proven defective and dangerous when diseases like CV-19 hit high density locations (New York, Frisco, L.A.). There is no safe “spacing” in cities like these.

    Now the Democrats want to destroy the tax base of family businesses and companies that produce your food. Really???

    Come on people you cannot be that stupid. Newsom and the rest of the Democrats loved it when the Trump economy filled the tax collector pockets. Moon Beam Brown, Slick Horton, Tax’n Jackson, and the rest only see how to confiscate hard earned wealth of the private sector. Yet how many of the above mentioned have benefits and retirement based upon government jobs????

    This has to stop.

  2. Totallyfedup says

    CA government, mostly democrat, hates Proposition 13.
    And, the sneaky Tax Assessors have a way to punish new home buyers with a surprise, surprise penalty called a Supplemental Tax Bill.
    They GET EVEN by charging the new buyer with a long list of fees that were not paid by the previous owner for every year the previous owner owned the property.
    AND, this bill can be in the THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AND DUE WITHIN A YEAR OF THE SALE.
    Do real estate agents warn new home buyers about this? They know when the property was last sold.
    Do escrow agents warn new home buyers to set aside LOTS of money for the big unknown tax bill they will get?
    Who besides the TAXMAN knows the calculations used to create this bill so the buyer and escrow agent can WARN THE BUYER.
    IT SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE ESCROW PROCESS AS THE COST OF PURCHASE SO PEOPLE DON’T LOOSE THEIR HOME BECAUSE OF THIS EXCESSIVELY HIGH TAX.
    You know that they will increase this hidden tax if we let them change ANYTHING about Prop 13.

  3. Donald J says

    Just more of the same DNC/CPUSA Agenda. One and the same.

  4. The democrats primary goal is to erase prop.13 entirely by the divide and conquer method. First split off the commercial/agriculture properties with class envy,guilt and,whatever their “by any means necessary” playbook calls for. Once prop 13 protection for commercial and ag properties are removed,they will next go after the homeowner. democrats will claim otherwise but,don’t believe them.

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