Well respected newspapers and noted organizations have weighed in on this issue, such as the California Assessors Association: Representing the state’s 58 county assessors, they are urging a “NO” vote on Proposition 15. The CAA insists it does not believe the hundreds of new, specially trained staff will be ready or able to fulfill expectations of all duties within the 3-year run-up to full statewide execution of Proposition 15.
The California Assessors Association also has very little confidence in the state government’s ability to manage huge changes to the tax system that Proposition 15 would bring; and very little faith in the state’s ability to organize and pay for the costs of implementation. The CAA has also expressed great doubt in the state’s ability to yield anything near the billions of dollars anticipated by the California State Legislature, and their friends at C.A.R. who helped spearhead the tax measure to unravel Proposition 58, a highly destructive tax measure they’re calling Proposition 19.
Other parties in California have weighed in on these complicated issues, and we’d like to share some of those views with you here:
The Desert Sun Editorial Board: “…we see this [Proposition 15] as a dangerous move right now as COVID-19 continues to wreck state and local government finances and remains a deep threat to any economic revival. Already, many businesses have shuttered their commercial spaces due to health orders. Many of those have already announced the financial damage they’ve suffered means they’re closed for good. Raising taxes now is the last thing struggling businesses and our millions of currently unemployed or underemployed workers need, and likely will send many that still hope for a financial future to seek greener pastures in other states.
What seems clear is that the main backers of this measure — Realtors and the firefighters union — stand to gain greatly in the forms of expected increased home sales and related sales commissions and the measure’s dedication of some of the state’s ultimate new tax proceeds specifically to firefighting efforts.”
Tahoe Daily Tribune: “The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimates that the repeal of the inter-generational transfer protections will result in tens of thousands of California families getting hit with higher property taxes every year. The LAO acknowledges that Prop. 19 imposes an additional tax burden in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The other part of Prop. 19 is intended to make voters forget about the huge tax increase by expanding the ability for older homeowners to move to a replacement home and transfer their base-year property tax assessment from their previous home to the new property. While this “portability” expansion has some merit, voters just rejected a virtually identical provision in 2018, when it was Proposition 5.”
Reason.org: “Overall, Proposition 19 is a complex vehicle for squeezing a relatively small amount of incremental revenue from property taxpayers. California property taxes raise an enormous amount of revenue in an inequitable manner as the state pursues ways of increasing property tax revenue from those properties not protected by voter initiatives.”
Marinij.com: (Bay Area News Group editorial board) “California’s property tax system is a mess. Proposition 15, the “split roll” measure on the Nov. 3 ballot, attempts to fix it. Unfortunately, it only makes matters worse. There are serious inequities in California’s property tax system that should be addressed. But Prop. 15 misses the mark. Vote no.”
Laist.com: “Prop 15 would burden commercial property renters, consumers and business owners alike, opponents say. Even though developers who own millions in property would stand to directly lose the most from this proposition, they could very well pass on the tax burden by raising rents for tenants. And although agricultural land is exempt from new tax hikes, farm fixtures — such as barns, dairies, fruit trees and more — are not exempt, which agricultural advocates say leaves farmers vulnerable.”
Metnews.com: “The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) estimated that the repeal (from Proposition 19) of the intergenerational transfer protections guaranteed by Proposition 58 and Prop 193 would, if passed, cause somewhere between 40,000 to 60,000 families in California to be crippled economically by egregiously higher yearly property taxes. Obviously, most middle class families would be forced, sadly, to immediately sell an inherited home left to them by a surviving parent.”
NAACP: “Proposition 15 will push our prices up, and our businesses out! This property tax increase will end up on us…”
abc7.com: “The massive tax increase will prompt companies to flee California at a time when businesses are already struggling…”
These media outlets are expressing sensible, well thought out sentiments regarding the advent of proposed measures Proposition 15 and Proposition 19. Both seek to unravel invaluable property tax relief benefits unique to California, contained in Proposition 13 and Proposition 58; not mirrored anywhere else in America. The question is — how will California survive the loss of the parent to child exemption protecting parent to child property transfer taxes; losing protections for heirs inheriting property taxes in general… plus a tax hike on business and commercial property owners… effectively raising the cost of all goods and services in the entire state of California, in all 58 counties.
The timing of these proposed tax measures, increasing taxes on California residents in the midst of a national pandemic, no longer allowing tax breaks for heirs inheriting property taxes… does seem rather irresponsible and poorly considered, as Prop 15’s tax hike on commercial property owners and landlords would in effect raise the cost of everything in this state, due to higher rents imposed on stores and businesses everywhere in the state, not to mention apartments for folks who rents as opposed to owning property in California.
So everyone loses. Everyone, that is, except for the realtor community…. and the firefighter’s union, who is important, no doubt about it. However, not so important that everyone else in the state of California should be behind the eight ball financially when everything — all goods and services from A to Z, so we mean when everything shoots up in price, 20%, 25%, 30% or more, depending. However, we’ll see what the vote brings in November.
Perhaps Maybe California will get lucky, Prop 15 and 19 will be defeated, and heirs inheriting property taxes will still be able to avoid property tax reassessment. And all this noise will be blown away like leaves in the wind.