Repealing Proposition 13?

As many of you know, I work hard in Sacramento to fight taxes, fees and overbearing regulations. Californians continue to suffer under our excessively high cost-of-living, partly a result of the highest income, gasoline and sales taxes in the United States. Fortunately, we have Proposition 13 to keep property taxes in check, but those protections are now in serious jeopardy.

Proposition 13, which limits yearly property tax increases to 2% for every property owner, remains one of the main protections for California taxpayers. In 1978, Prop 13 was approved by an overwhelming margin to end the system of rapidly increasing annual property taxes based on re-assessed property value.  Efforts to undermine Prop 13 have become nearly an annual occurrence in Sacramento, and those efforts achieved preliminary success this year with passage of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 13 (ACA 13). ACA 13 would block a taxpayer protection initiative, already approved for the ballot, that overrides recent court rulings and restores the 2/3 vote requirement for all local tax measures. It also allows local jurisdictions to hold “advisory votes” on tax increases, which only need a simple majority to pass.

Everyone benefits from Prop 13, including owners of recently purchased property. Homeowners are assured their taxes won’t increase simply because real estate speculation and bureaucratic barriers that limit new housing have driven up property values. Tenants don’t see their rents increase to cover the cost of their landlord’s escalating property tax bill, and businesses are able to plan ahead for growth and new jobs knowing what their tax liabilities will be in future years.

Since ACA 13 would amend the state’s constitution by essentially repealing Proposition 13, the measure requires voter approval. In the end, whether to add property taxes to our highest-in-the-nation gas, sales and income taxes will be decided by voters, not the Legislature.