California can thank her lucky stars that Proposition 15 was defeated by a thin margin of “No!” votes… But these motivated opponents of property tax relief in California managed to raise and spend, thanks to the CA Realtor’s Association and others, $47,568,642.14 to push through a certain cleverly worded, deceptive little tax measure called Proposition 19; as the state’s first serious property tax in 43 years.
Opponents to the Prop 19 tax measure managed to raise a paltry $238,521. Had they been able to raise equivalent amounts of cash for PR and promotional efforts, to properly inform voters as to what Proposition 19 was actually looking to accomplish — it is unlikely that the tax measure would have passed. As it is, the winning margin was only a few hundred thousand votes.
Proposition 19 was a Christmas present in 2020 for certain special interests in California, supported by the CA Legislature – the CA Association of Realtors PAC, the National Association of Realtors, the California Democratic Party, California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee, and others… designed to be presented as a pro middle class, pro-senior, pro-firefighter, pro-education property tax relief package – when in fact no one really knows how much all of that anticipated extra property tax revenue is actually going to seniors and the California school system, and firefighters.
Certainly, the folks behind Prop 19, the California Legislature will throw a few dollars at the Firefighters’ Union… and make things, at least on the surface, appear to be easier for homeowners over 55, for awhile…. and the schools system will receive some of that revenue no doubt. However, according to well connected real estate lawyers, as well as the folks at the Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association, most of the extra revenue will be used to pay for massive, unfunded government employee pensions and related items. How this unfolds remains to be seen.
What also remains to be seen is the next Proposition 15 type of anti property tax relief tax measure, that will be looking to strip away certain established Proposition 13 tax breaks. And no doubt with a more clever and convincing marketing effort next time around. And having learned a thing or two from their success with Proposition 19, how to sell new property taxes to residential and commercial property owners in California. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association and others will simply have to learn how to debunk and expose new property tax hikes, of any kind, more rapidly and more convincingly.
In the meantime, California still has some effective property tax relief options left, thanks to Proposition 13 still being in one piece. If we’re about to inherit property, from a trust or an estate, we can still look at getting a trust loan while establishing a low Proposition 13 property tax base… even without all of the property tax transfer options that heirs and beneficiaries are accustomed to passing on to their children as well… allowing their children to benefit from standard Proposition 13 tax breaks for California trust beneficiaries to avoid property tax reassessment.
Families inheriting real property can still transfer parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes; plus utilize their ability to safely keep parents property taxes during a parent to child transfer, or Parent to Child Exclusion; as well as during the transfer of property between siblings, during a co-beneficiary buyout of inherited property shares through a loan to an irrevocable trust in conjunction with Proposition 58, and the help of a reliable trust lender who knows how to make full use of the now-revised Parent to Child Exclusion… now restricted to a 12-month time-frame after a parent passes away; as opposed to no restrictive time-frame, such as prior to Proposition 19.
If California can’t take advantage of property tax relief one way – they’ll have to go down another avenue to get it done! Inheriting parents property taxes, maintaining the right to avoid property tax reassessment, is still in place; it’s just not as simple as it once was. Thankfully, Proposition 13 still protects our right to avoid property tax reassessment, due to the fact that Proposition 13 is still intact, for the most part. But for how long? That’s the big question… before those tricky folks who gave us Proposition 15 and Prop 19 decide to try again, having learned from their “mistakes”, and come back in the near future with even more deceptive marketing capabilities.
Of course, in the bulk of the states in America, most tax breaks of any kind go the wealthiest residents who actually need tax reduction the least. However, in California the middle class, nor just the one-percenters, continues to enjoy these unique Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 or Prop 193 tax breaks. Even after Proposition 19 imposed limitations on the right to avoid property tax reassessment.
The longer middle class homeowners in California have lived in their house – factoring in their neighborhood, in terms of appreciation in value – the larger the tax break from Proposition 13 still is, as it always has been. And Proposition 58 remains about the same, allowing beneficiaries to get a large six or seven-figure loan to an irrevocable trust… establish a permanent low property tax base, plus buyout co-beneficiaries who have inherited the same property.
Despite Proposition 19, all property owners are protected from property tax increases, regardless of when their buildings were built or whether the owner even lives in them. Unfortunately for renters, rent control in Los Angeles and other urban areas only applies to multi-family apt. buildings that were constructed prior to 1979 — the rest of renters cannot partake, however can usually find reasonable rentals, where say in many other cities in the US this is often not possible. But it is in California.
Now, if we could get other taxation down, and make living easier for Californians in general, and stop companies from leaving the state due to high corporate tax… keeping jobs here in the state – California would be in better shape all around. But that’s something we’ll need to take up with the Legislature!