Bringing us up into the present, critics such as Assemblyman David Chiu, of the San Francisco Assembly’s housing committee, continue to ignore how wildly popular avoiding property tax reassessment is in California… and they are still repeating the same litany that is echoed by a thin minority throughout the state, insisting that, “The inheritance tax break has exacerbated [wealth] inequality and is symbolic of that inequality. The idea of the American Dream of everyday people being able to make it is completely impacted when the haves get more, and the have-nots have no chance of benefiting from property investment windfalls.”
We hear this litany all the time… indicating that wealthy Californians are the only people in the state that benefit from the Prop 13 tax break, avoiding property tax reassessment.
This misinformation is, of course, nonsense…. twisting the truth to fit a certain point of view; which in itself is, essentially, untrue on the face of it. All those people Mr. Chiu is actually referring to are renters not owners… and yet – without knowing it he is actually making the point that needs to be made – that, bottom line, most landlords are able to save on property taxes, thanks to Prop 13, and in turn this allows them to keep rents low for renters. However, that’s the part of the equation that folks like Mr. Chiu forget!
And if indeed property owners, i.e., landlords, throughout California, did not have the Proposition 13 tax break, obviously they would be motivated to raise their rents. So, in fact, without knowing it, Mr. Chiu and others voicing the same opinions are surfacing the critical point that proponents of these tax shelters have been trying to make – since you could avoid property tax reassessment with Proposition 13, after it was passed overwhelmingly by nearly 66% by voters in 1978, and subsequently, in 1986, when the popular Proposition 58 parent to child transfer of property taxes passed, providing parent to child exclusion from property tax reassessment; plus Proposition 193, a constitutional amendment approved by voters on March 27, 1996, which allows grandparents to transfer property to grandchildren – with the ability to avoid property tax reassessment all on their own as grandparents and grandchildren.
The main point being, it’s not only property owners that are benefiting financially from Proposition 13 tax relief – we have also found Prop 13 and Proposition 58 benefits strengthening family bonding and overall net worth, providing an enormous blanket of peace of mind for home owners of all stripes, cultures, ages and incomes…. as well as those expecting to inherit CA property, or looking to become happy home owners. Moreover, renters are paying far less in rent, thanks to the property owners they pay rent to being able to continue avoiding property tax reassessment, and therefore spending less every year on property taxes that they would otherwise be passing on to their renters. Clearly, this savings trickles down from owner to renter for thousands of renters in California. Whether the David Chiu’s of this world care to admit it, or not.