Prop. 13 targeted by proposed California ballot initiative

Forty years after Proposition 13 was approved by California voters, the issue of property-tax limits could be back on the state ballot in 2018.

A coalition of liberal groups is trying to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would remove Prop. 13’s restrictions on reassessments and tax increases for corporate-owned property.

The backers say the initiative would keep Prop. 13’s protections for homeowners, residential renters, small businesses and farmers.

They say a projected $11 billion in new revenue from corporate property taxes would be used to provide needed funding for schools and community colleges as well as parks, libraries, health clinics, home-building, homeless services, roads and bridges.

But those promises haven’t kept low-tax advocates from slamming the would-be initiative, called the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2018. …

Click here to read the full article from the OC Register

Trick or treat, your property tax bill is here

property taxWhich is scarier showing up in your mailbox — Halloween movies from Netflix or your property tax bill? For homeowners, even “The Exorcist” can’t compare in terms of pure fright as the annual envelop from the tax collector’s office. Fortunately, however, homeowners are still able to count on Proposition 13 for protection.

While progressives in the California Legislature continue to target the struggling middle class for ever higher taxes, they have been unable to break Proposition 13. That landmark 1978 initiative limits increases in a property’s assessed value to 2 percent annually and provides most property owners a good idea what their tax bill will be even before opening the envelope.

This predictability in taxation allows homeowners to budget for their taxes and provides assurance against a sudden increase that could result in losing their home to the tax collector. Whether you purchased your property last week, or 30 years ago, Proposition 13 is maintaining a reasonable limit on annual hikes in your property tax.

Still, homeowners need to examine their property tax bill carefully because mistakes can happen. Taxpayers should understand the various charges and make certain that they are not being assessed for more than they are legally obligated to pay. The best way to check a tax bill is to have your previous year’s bill handy for reference.

For most California counties, the property tax bill will show three categories of charges. They are the General Tax Levy, Voted Indebtedness and Direct Assessments. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register

The Property Tax is Pure Tyranny

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14115451The arrival of autumn means more than leaves turning color.

Toward the end of September, California residents will be receiving their 2016-2017 property tax bills.

What they will also be receiving is an example of economic tyranny.

In the Golden State, the property tax on a $1 million home is likely to be several hundred dollars more in the 2016-2017 interval than in the previous interval (2015-2016). Government always wants more money for roads, schools and social programs.

The property tax is really a form of a wealth tax because the property tax is levied on an asset that is still in the owner’s possession. Another example of a wealth tax is a tax on one’s funds in a bank account.

There is no property tax on a person’s furniture, clothing or appliances. Nor is there a property tax on a person’s jewelry, computers or books.

There is no property tax on assets like stocks, bonds or businesses until the asset is sold (assuming the asset has appreciated in value).

And, worse, the tax on a new home in California can be much higher. For example, if someone purchased a home in 1975 for $50,000 and sold it in 2015 for $1 million, the new owner would pay a property tax based on the $1 million price.

During the 40 years (from 1975 to 2015), the home increased in value 20 times. However, the new owner — compared with the old owner — is not receiving 20 times as much in police, fire and school services that the old owner received.

If the owner of a home fails to pay his or her property tax, the home can be confiscated by government authorities or a tax lien can be placed on the property.

The time has come to eliminate the property tax. However, people will ask:  How will the schools, the fire department, the police department and other local services be funded?

The answer is to use an income tax. Using an income tax has the advantage of an owner not being forced to leave his home for lack of a tax payment. A person with no income simply pays no tax — property tax or income tax.

Imagine, the horror an unemployed person will face is he cannot pay his property tax bill. He has a good chance of facing foreclosure and, ultimately, homelessness.

The horror can be extremely acute for an older person living on a fixed income, and perhaps all such income comes from Social Security. Why should such a person face the humiliation of homelessness?

The time to end property-tax tyranny has arrived. California residents must demand that that city and state officials repeal the property tax.

Richard Colman is a the president and found or Biomed Inc, a biotechnology, publishing, and informatics company.  He lives in Orinda, California, a community of 18,000 people 15 miles east of San Francisco.

What Has Howard Jarvis Done for Me Lately?

Howard-JarvisMany of those under 50 do not remember tax revolt leader Howard Jarvis, who passed away 30 years ago, and yet, perhaps unknowingly, they are benefiting from his legacy. Proposition 13, which limits property taxes and allows local voters to have the final say on new taxes, was Howard’s gift to all Californians.

By limiting annual increases, Proposition 13 makes property taxes predictable from year to year. This doesn’t just benefit senior citizen homeowners on fixed incomes who worry about losing their homes to the tax collector. It benefits all homeowners. For example, a family who bought their home just five years ago in 2011, at the typical price that year of $286,000, has already seen significant tax savings. Today, the median sales price is close to $509,000 according to the California Association of Realtors. That’s a 79 percent increase. Under the property tax system that preceded Proposition 13, which was based on current value, the family who bought their home in 2011, would see their property taxes nearly double in a few short years.

Without Proposition 13, that family who struggled to buy a home in the first place, would find themselves struggling to keep their house in an overheated real estate market. Because of Proposition 13, which limits annual assessed value increases to two percent and then applies a tax rate of one percent to the total, the family will pay $3,084 this year, not $5,090, which would be the case if there were no limit on annual increases.

But even this example understates the importance of Proposition 13 to the average property owner. You see, before Proposition 13 imposed a one percent tax rate, the statewide average was 2.6 percent — in some counties it was as high as four percent. So, without Proposition 13, our recent home buying family would actually be paying $13,234 in annual taxes.

The old system guaranteed constant increasing revenue to government but did not take into consideration property owners’ ability to pay.  Even when home values declined, there was no relief for taxpayers because county boards of supervisors, city councils and local special districts could arbitrarily raise the tax rate to raise revenue.

Proposition 13 was designed to make property ownership secure for all Californians. But Howard Jarvis also wanted to make sure that the Legislature, which refused to provide tax relief when average folks were losing their homes, did not come back with new ways to punish taxpayers. The measure also requires a two-thirds vote of state lawmakers to increase state taxes and provides voters the final say on new local taxes.

Government employee unions, left wing progressives and even crony capitalists who all opposed Proposition 13 when it was on the ballot, are still complaining. They point to all the money that government has been denied because of Proposition 13 and claim that problems ranging from poverty to academic performance are due to the measure’s passage. Of course, these accusations fly in the face of facts. Even with Proposition 13, California ranks in the top 6 of all 50 states in per capital tax burden, and, according to the Department of Labor, we have the highest paid state and local employees. Add to this, after adjusting for inflation, we spend more money per pupil than prior to Proposition 13.

Those who do not remember the Tax Revolt of 1978, will be interested to know that much of the voter anger that fueled the passage of Proposition 13 was directed at insiders who benefited from the status quo. This frustration with members of the political class and their powerful special interest allies is very similar to what we are seeing in America, today.

After the passage of Proposition 13, Time Magazine featured Howard Jarvis shaking his fist on the cover of their June 19, 1978 issue. Howard went on to chronicle his 16-year effort to reform taxes in his book, I’m Mad as Hell. If he were with us today, he would be the foremost critic of government that is run for the benefit of insiders and ignores the concerns of average citizens, like those who lived in fear of losing their homes before Proposition 13.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This piece was originally published by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

‘Parking Bill of Rights’ and Other Commonsense Measures to HELP Californians

parking ticketSo much of what comes out of the Capitol hurts average Californians. Efforts to impose new taxes, onerous regulations or laws that dictate lifestyle choices like how much soda one drinks, have citizens ducking for cover. But every now and then, bills are introduced that cut against the stereotype by providing genuine benefit to average folks who don’t have the “juice” in Sacramento as do powerful, well-funded special interests.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced Assembly Bill 2586, legislation that would make parking, which has become a nightmare in many communities, a bit easier. Titled the “Parking Bill of Rights,” the common sense measure features a package of reforms that include requiring cities to promptly make spaces available to motorists after street-sweeping activities have concluded, prohibiting cities from ticketing motorists who park at broken meters, preventing valet-parking operators from excluding motorists from metered spots, and prohibiting cities from hiring private companies to act as parking “bounty hunters.”

“Occasionally the state needs to step in and remind our local governments that parking a vehicle should be an efficient practice, and not another big hassle designed to separate motorists from their money,” said Gatto. “These simple and practical policy changes will make life easier for Californians who just want to park their cars and go about their business.”

Another bill that will assist middle class families is Senate Bill 874. Authored by Senator Ted Gaines, it would simply increase the dependent child tax credit by 25 percent to $422. That might not seem like a lot of money to big union interests or corporations, but California has one of the highest costs of living in America. For a struggling family, a few hundred bucks buys groceries and shoes for the kids.

Two more bills are sure to be warmly received by older homeowners, a major constituency of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Senate bill 1126 by Senator Jeff Stone would eliminate the 2 percent inflation allowance for seniors of modest incomes. While the two percent rate cap provides great tax relief for most homeowners, even that modest amount is too high for some seniors who are barely able to hold on to their homes.

The other “senior friendly” bill is Assembly Bill 2691, the Monthly Property Tax Payment Program, by Assemblyman Chris Holden. This measure would permit a County Board of Supervisors to approve an ordinance allowing taxpayers over the age of 62 or a person receiving SSI income for a disability, regardless of age, to pay their property taxes monthly instead of twice a year. While not cutting their tax liability, this would help older folks and the disabled to budget for their property taxes.

We won’t know the ultimate fate of these four legislative proposals for a few months. But the mere fact that they are introduced at least allows a discussion to start about how the California Legislature can help the middle class and retired homeowners instead of looking out for powerful special interests who are the reliable sources of campaign contributions.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This piece was originally published Fox and Hounds Daily

A Clear and Present Danger to Proposition 13

property taxThe attacks on Proposition 13 began within a few days after its overwhelming passage by California voters on June 6, 1978. Over the last three and half decades, this landmark taxpayer protection has been assailed in the Legislature, the courts and by ballot initiatives sponsored by tax-and-spend interests. These assaults continue to this day.

In a development that has surprised taxpayer advocates and the business community, a new attack on Proposition 13 is quickly gaining traction. Filed as an initiative with the sympathetic title of “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act,” the proposal would impose a massive $6 billion property tax increase on both homeowners and business properties. Its primary backer is Conway Collis, a former member of the California Board of Equalization.

The fact that there is yet another attack on Proposition 13 is not much of a surprise. However, this proposal is as odd as it is dangerous. First, it is not being financed by the usual anti-Proposition 13 coalition of public sector unions and local government interests. Instead, the funding is coming from anti-poverty groups aligned with the Catholic Church, including the Sisters of Charity.

Second, in a strange political move, the proposal would impose its sliding scale of property tax increases – euphemistically labeled as “surcharges” – on residential properties as well as commercial real estate. Conventional wisdom in Sacramento has been that the most likely attack on Proposition 13 would be limited to commercial property with the imposition of a so-called “split roll” tax. (Proposition 13 maintained California’s historical tradition of taxing all real estate at the same rate. “Split roll” proposals – which remain a constant threat – would impose higher rates and/or different tax rules on business properties.)

By imposing higher taxes on homes have the proponents made a political miscalculation? While it is true that, for now, the tax increase would only impact properties with a current assessed value in excess of $3 million, owners of average homes are fully aware that any breach in Proposition 13 could open the floodgates to more attacks that weaken their own protections. California homeowners, in other words, fully grasp the notion of “slippery slope” when it comes to attacks on Proposition 13.

By adopting a “go it alone” strategy without the usual left of center coalition, the proponents face the very real prospect of a broad opposition coalition. For example, public sector labor organizations are more focused on extending the Proposition 30 income tax increases. If they view the Conway Collis measure as a threat to their own interests they could very well oppose it or, worse yet, oppose it with significant money.

Moreover, it appears that the proponents haven’t fully comprehended how local government interests will react to the creation of a new state (not local) fund that would distribute the property tax proceeds generated by the new “surcharges.” It is likely that cities, counties and special districts will view this an unwanted intrusion into a primary source of their own funding.

The above are just a few of the problems with the Collis initiative. There are many more that will become evident as scrutiny from various political interests begins to intensify.

But one thing is certain. With the recent infusion of nearly a million dollars for the signature gathering effort, property owners need to take this threat very seriously. And while there is no guarantee that it will qualify for the 2016 ballot, anyone who values the protections afforded by Proposition 13 better not wait too long to prepare for a tough fight in November.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

The Real Scare of Halloween Season — Property Tax Bills

property taxFor many the real scare this time of year is not the monsters at our doors on Halloween but the property tax bill in the mail box.

Fortunately, as a direct result of Proposition 13, which limits increases in a property’s assessed value to two percent annually, most property owners have a good idea what their tax bill will be even before opening the envelope. However, like we do every year about this time, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association reminds taxpayers to carefully examine their latest property tax bill. Although not common, there may be mistakes.

Taxpayers should understand the various charges and make certain that they are not being assessed for more than they are legally obligated to pay. The best way to check a tax bill is to have your previous year’s bill handy for reference.

Checking the bill is especially important for those who bought their homes a few years ago at the height of the market. If your home value is actually lower than the assessed value shown on the tax bill, you should consider applying for a reduction in taxes. (Sometimes called a “Prop. 8 reduction.”)

For most California counties, the property tax bill will show three categories of charges. They are the General Tax Levy, Voted Indebtedness and Direct Assessments.

General Tax Levy

The General Tax Levy is what most people think of when talking about property taxes. It is based on the assessed value of land, improvements and fixtures. This charge usually makes up the largest part of the tax bill and it is the amount that is limited by Proposition 13.

Proposition 13 passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1978 and it established a statewide uniform tax rate of one percent of assessed value at the time of purchase and limited annual increases in assessed value to no more than 2 percent. From a practical standpoint, this means that once the base year value of your property is established the General Tax Levy cannot be increased more than 2 percent each year. This allows all property owners to predict their property tax bills into the future and budget accordingly.

The best way to check to make sure that your current General Levy of Assessment is correct is to compare it with the previous year’s bill. The increase should be no more than 2 percent unless there have been improvements to the property like adding a room to a house or if you previously received a Prop. 8 “reduction in value.” This bears repeating: Because the real estate market in many parts of California is recovering many homeowners who previously received a temporary reduction in “taxable value” from their assessment may now see an increase in their tax bill more than two percent from last year. But in no case will the taxable value be more than the initial Prop. 13 base year plus 2 percent annually from the date of purchase. Although that may seem unfair, keep in mind that while the reduction was only temporary, the savings you received when your property was worth less are permanent.

If in doubt about the current value of your property, check sales of comparable homes in your neighborhood. If homes like yours are selling for less than the valuation on your latest bill contact your county assessor and ask that the value and resulting tax be adjusted to reflect true current value.

Voted Indebtedness

Voted Indebtedness charges reflect the repayment cost of bonds approved by the voters. Local general obligation bonds for libraries, parks, police and fire facilities and other capital improvements are repaid exclusively by property owners. Because a minority of the population is required to pay the entire amount, the California Constitution of 1879 established the two-thirds vote for approval of these bonds. This assures a strong community consensus before obligating property owners to repay debt for 20 or 30 years.

Until the year 2000 local school bonds also required a two-thirds vote but the passage of Proposition 39 lowered the vote to 55 percent. (Of course this did very little to improve schools as was promised.) Because the 55 percent requirement guarantees that most school bonds will pass regardless of merit many homeowners are seeing a significant increase in the Voted Indebtedness column on their tax bills.

In some counties, parcel taxes may appear under this second category of property exactions even though parcel taxes are rarely used to repay debt. Parcel taxes are taxes on property ownership but are not imposed as a percentage of taxable value. Although there is no upper limit to amount of parcel taxes you have to pay (HJTA is working to change that) the good news is that under Proposition 13 they still require a two-thirds vote.

Direct Assessments

The third type of levy one finds on the typical property tax bill is for direct assessments for services related to property such as street lighting, regional sanitation, flood control, etc. Because of Proposition 218 — the Right to Vote on Taxes Act placed on the ballot by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in 1996 — property owners must be given a meaningful say in approving new assessments. Before an assessment can be imposed or increased property owners must be informed in writing and be given the opportunity to cast a protest vote on the new assessment or assessment increase.

For more information regarding your property tax bill go to HJTA.org and click on Frequently Asked Questions then scroll down to “About Property Tax Assessments.”  If you have a question about your property tax bill you can contact your county assessor, county tax collector or, in many instances, the phone number of the levying agency for each levy that is reflected on your bill.  It’s your money and you have a right to be certain that your bill is correct.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

Originally published by HTJA.org

Chicago Illustrates the Importance of Prop. 13

Chicago, Carl Sandburg’s “City of the big shoulders,” is about to find out just how heavy a tax burden homeowners are able to bear. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revealed his plan for a massive property tax increase to pay for unfunded pension obligations. And for taxpayers, it isn’t pretty. The mayor wants a $543 million increase in property taxes to cover police and fire pensions, as well as additional taxes and fees to close a projected $745 million budget shortfall.

How much this will cost the average homeowner is not yet clear. Emanuel is seeking approval from the Legislature to exempt those homes worth less than $250,000 from the increase, meaning more valuable properties would absorb the entire burden.

The uncertainty may also be contributing to a decline in home values in recent months, as shown by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Buyers may not be so ready to cut a deal that will see them inheriting a massive property tax hike.

In order to illustrate the seriousness of the city’s fiscal crisis, and perhaps to make it easier to extort more from property owners, Emanuel is claiming that without the additional revenue, public safety will be decimated. Twenty percent of the police force and 40 percent of firefighters will lose their jobs, he threatens.

Still, two years ago, the mayor foreshadowed the coming tax increase when he warned that in order to pay the mounting bill for government employee pensions — a bill that would triple in 2015 when a balloon payment comes due — property taxes could be forced to go up 150 percent.

This is a frightening scenario for homeowners, but not so much for homeowners in California. For us, notwithstanding equally daunting pension problems, the good news is Proposition 13. Although city mismanagement is also common to California – a number of cities have been forced to file for bankruptcy in recent years, largely due to exploding government employee pension debt – officials are prohibited by Proposition 13 from soaking property owners to cover up their dereliction. While Chicago homeowners are sitting ducks for higher property taxes, in California, increases are limited to two percent annually.

Add to the property tax limitations that Proposition 13 gives voters the final say on new local taxes and requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature to increase state taxes, and it becomes easier to understand why it is a target of so many Sacramento politicians, most of whom owe their election to their government employee union allies. If they can eliminate the impediments to tax increases established by Proposition 13, the politicians will be in a much better position to repay and reward their political benefactors.

Without Proposition 13 Californians could soon experience what it is like to live in Chicago without ever having to leave their homes. And it could be even worse. Chicago’s budget director has already gone on record as saying Mayor Emanuel’s property tax increase is not enough.

Originally published by HJTA.org

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

​Is California a Low Property Tax State?​

urban-housing-sprawl-366c0During Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first campaign for governor, one of his biggest backers, super wealthy Warren Buffet, famously said his property taxes on his Laguna Beach home were not high enough. The comment caused California homeowners to question Arnold’s bona fides as a conservative so he threatened to make Buffet do 500 sit-ups for his transgression. While the controversy blew over, there seems to be no record of Buffet making a voluntary additional payment to the county tax collector to assuage his conscious.

Most California homeowners don’t have Buffet’s wealth and rightfully believe they are already paying enough to finance local services. But still, the question of just how California property taxes measure up against other states is the source of a lot of angst and disinformation. (Rumors have it that some on the far left are preoccupied with this subject as they look for opportunities to force the “evil landowning elite” to pay their “fair share.”)

For years, the curious could consult information made available by the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank whose mission is to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government.

If one consulted the Foundation earlier this year they would have been informed that California ranks 19th out of all 50 states in property tax burden. However, if one were to check today, they would find that our state now ranks 34th.

Have California property taxes suddenly been reduced or is it possible that more than a dozen states have recently increased their tax rates? No, none of the above. Looking more closely, the explanation is simple. The ranking of 19 is based on the per capita property tax burden, while the 34 rank is based on taxes as a percentage of property value.

This is like the ancient story about the six blind men who examine an elephant, and each comes to a different conclusion about its appearance. The first touches a leg and says that it is like a pillar, the second the tail and says it is like rope, and so on. None of the blind gentlemen are wrong, but then none are correct; their views must be integrated to understand the whole elephant.

In fact, measuring tax burden based on taxes as a percentage of value is probably the least informative. The reason is that, according the California Legislative Analyst, an average California home costs $440,000, about two–and–a–half times the average national home price of $180,000. Only homes in Hawaii are more expensive.

So does this mean that all California homeowners are rich? Absolutely not. It means that they are paying much more for homes and as a result, the taxes they pay to government are much higher than what residents in many other states are paying for similar homes. For example, $250,000 doesn’t even buy closet space in San Francisco but, in many parts of the country, that kind of money buys a very nice house.

This, of course, brings up the importance of Proposition 13, which limits the increase in a property’s taxable value to no more than two percent annually. Proposition 13 assures property owners they will not be taxed out of their homes by the mercurial and unpredictable housing market in which double digit increases in home values are not unusual. And even when housing values decline, because of Proposition 13, local government receives a reliable and stable source of tax revenue. For both property owners and government it is a win, win situation.

Originally published by HJTA.org

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

Certainty in Taxation: Prop. 13’s Best Feature

property tax​In its more than 160 plus year history, few things have remained constant in California.  However, since the 1800’s California has taxed all classes of property the same.

Thus, when the iconic Prop. 13 passed in 1978, it did not differentiate between different kinds of property.  All real property – whether residential or commercial – was bestowed with the benefits of a reasonable one percent tax rate cap and, just as importantly, a two percent limit in the annual increase in taxable value.

In 1978, the predominant fear permeating California was an exploding tax burden that was forcing people out of their homes. The one percent rate cap was important, of course, but a rate cap by itself does nothing to control a property tax bill that is based on the “market value” of one’s home. If market values double – as they frequently do in an overheated real estate market – then property owners remain vulnerable to wild fluctuations when tax time comes around.

By limiting the annual increases in “taxable value” or “assessed value” of property to two percent per year, Prop. 13 gave property owners something they never had before – absolute certainty in what their tax bills would be in future years. No more would property owners open their tax bills with trembling hands because they knew that, thanks to Prop. 13, any increase would be modest.

The certainty and predictability of property taxes is just as important to owners of business properties as it is to homeowners.

First, let’s dispel the myth that Proposition 13 created a loophole for business properties. As noted above, California has always taxed property at the same rate. Proposition 13 didn’t change that. Second, we often hear that, during the campaign in 1978, the fact that Proposition 13 protections would be extended to business properties wasn’t presented to the voters. Not true. The opponents hammered those arguments throughout the campaign and, specifically, in the official ballot pamphlet itself.

Moreover, during the Proposition 13 campaign, it was predicted that, over time, homeowners would pay an increasing percentage of the total property tax revenue because residential properties change hands more frequently than commercial properties and thus would be taxed closer to market value. But for many years the percentages remained relatively static.  Only more recently has there been an uptick in the percentage of property taxes paid by homeowners. And this appears to be due to land use changes, such as a shrinking industrial/manufacturing sector and luxury home development than it is to Prop. 13.

Californians need to keep in mind the stability and predictability of Proposition 13 is as important to owners of business properties as it is to homeowners. Indeed, this is more true now than it was in 1978. Back then, California was a pro-business state with a growing economy, a vital aerospace industry and an infrastructure system that was the one of the world’s best. Now, California is rated dead last as a place to do business, we have the highest poverty rate and a tax and regulatory environment that has caused countless businesses – both large and small – to move elsewhere.

Stability and predictability of future property tax liability afforded by Prop. 13 is one of the few remaining pro-business policies in California. Why on earth would we want to repeal that?

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.