Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

Proposition 19 Tax Hike Versus Proposition 58 Property Tax Breaks

The slim-margin success of California property tax hike Proposition 19 has been due to an odd combination of elements. Not held up by a great deal of media support – yet enjoying all the benefits of a massive promotional budget, with first-rate brand awareness and PR; etc. – allocated by several established high-profile organizations lending a great deal of credibility to the Proposition 19 campaign.

Proposition 19 concentrated on the (supposed) well-being of seniors; on the enhanced profitability of the California realtor community, and on the escalated financial health of the state educational system.  Although  all the Proposition 19 public relations language supported all those focus points… how sincere it was remains to be seen.  Oddly enough, press and media support never mirrored the robust financial support that Proposition 19 enjoyed.

Only a handful of organizations such as ACLU of Southern California, the Family Business Association of California,  the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and League of Women Voters of California supported the effort to defeat Prop 19 – coming up with a mere $58,000 to support and protect Proposition 58, Proposition 13, and the right to continue transferring property taxes…

Meanwhile, a  tremendous parade of well heeled organizations backed the Proposition 19 tax initiative, and fought hard to get it passed, donating  some  $46,458,168.88… The astounding amount of capital raised to get the proposition passed was led by the California Association of Realtors, donating a stunning $35,710,000;  National Association of Realtors, with $4,823,500; California Professional Firefighters Ballot Issues Committee with $100,454; and the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 Issues Advocacy/Ballot Initiative PAC with $10,000.

Other supporters were California Senior Advocates League, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, Californians for Disability Rights, Congress of California Seniors, California State Federation of Labor, CalAsian Chamber of Commerce, California Black Chamber of Commerce, California Business Roundtable,  California Forestry Association, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,  and  the California NAACP State Conference – just to name a few.  The full list of supporters is extraordinary. 

The California Legislature boldly claims that local governments and schools could “gain tens of millions of dollars of additional property tax revenue every year…” These extra revenue gains, they anticipate,  “might grow over time… to a few hundred million dollars per year.” “Might” and “could”…  But no one knows for sure.  Many feel these numbers are exaggerated.

Did those politicos running California, along with the real estate  organizations who had enough in their war-chest to throw $40,000,000 at this tax bill – ever consider that a large number of family farms and other companies will go under, as they have said they are in danger of doing due to overly high taxation, Covid, and poor sales… and will stop paying taxes altogether at that point. 

Did they ever consider that  if you topple over or mess with California’s right to transfer property taxes when inheriting property taxes from parents… or limit beneficiaries’ ability to keep parents property taxes for as long as needed; in fact to tamper at all with the legal right to take advantage of property tax transfer benefits, or the transfer of parents property taxes upon inheriting property taxes in general… or limiting a families’ ability to get a trust loan to buyout a co-beneficiary’s inherited property, to take advantage of Proposition 58 to avoid property tax reassessment… Or utilize property tax transfer, namely the right to transfer property taxes, parent to child transfers and parent to child exclusion, is always dangerous to tamper with or to try to  “fix”  a system that has been in place for decades  and that is working well, requiring no actual need of fixing.  

Many who are not in danger of going under have claimed they are fed up with  the high cost of doing business in California — and tax hikes of any kind would push them over the line, forcing them to leave California for more corporate-friendly states, with lower taxes in general.  They may not have the right to transfer property taxes in a new state, however their income tax and living expenses in general are likely to be far less expensive than in California.

Did any of the short-sighted folks pushing property tax increases like Prop 19, limiting and even removing the right to transfer property taxes as well as high income tax, ever stop to consider that in the final analysis California loses out on a lot more tax revenue going down this avenue.  In fact, if you examine the ten highest income tax states (or legal jurisdictions) you see right away how high taxation already is in California, even  before property tax increases…

  1. California 13.3%
  2. Hawaii 11%
  3. New Jersey 10.75%
  4. Oregon 9.9%
  5. Minnesota 9.85%
  6. District of Columbia 8.95%
  7. New York 8.82%
  8. Vermont 8.75%
  9. Iowa 8.53%
  10. Wisconsin 7.65%

Not only that, if you factor in the thousands of good white collar and  blue collar jobs that exit with those companies when they leave the state, take note of the fact that those jobs are gone forever!  Moreover, all those workers put an additional strain on the system, collecting   unemployment checks plus no longer themselves paying out taxes on the level they were before… Many of them in fact leaving the state to find work in nearby states with lower taxes and lower living expenses. Again, less tax revenue going to the California.  Did this not occur to anyone in the State Government, smart folks with PHDs and MBAs and law degrees…? You would think it would have.

Opposition in the Press

Yet with all that financial support – press and media support was stunningly low, in terms of support for Proposition 19.  Editorial Boards opposing this property tax ballot looked something like this:   

• The Orange County Register Editorial Board: “But Prop. 19 is best understood for what it is: an attempt by real estate interests to accomplish what they couldn’t accomplish two years ago by pandering to the state’s firefighters union. This is a special-interest measure that seeks to raise hundreds of millions of new tax revenues to appease yet another special interest. Prop. 19 has one good feature — portability. Counties ought to enable it forthwith, as a few already have done. But Prop. 19 is a cash grab, not tax reform; it’s not fair to property heirs, and it buys off a union so it has a better chance of passing. Vote it down.”

• Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards: “Prop. 19 merely plugs one hole in the state’s porous property tax laws while creating another. It’s time for holistic reform that simplifies the system and makes it more equitable. This isn’t it.  The longer a person had owned their current home, and already benefited from inordinately low tax bills due to Prop. 13, the greater the tax break on the new property. And those who downsize would often be competing with first-time buyers for more-affordable smaller homes. The real reform would be to abolish the tax-transfer program, not expand it. Vote no on Prop. 19.”

• The Bakersfield Californian Editorial Board: “Proposition 19 is another do-over on the ballot. Two years ago, the real estate industry spent $13 million on a similar initiative campaign to expand the program statewide and enhance the benefit for eligible homeowners. Sixty percent of voters rejected the initiative. They should do the same this year.”

• Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: “But Proposition 19 would just expand the inequities in California’s property tax system. It would grossly benefit those who were lucky enough to buy a home years ago and hold onto it as values skyrocketed. It would give them a huge tax break and greater buying power in an already expensive real estate market. It would skew tax breaks further away from people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.”

• San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board: “But it’s still a flawed package, designed to rev up home sales that benefit real estate agents who could reap more in commissions. It favors one narrow segment of the tax-paying public but does nothing for the rest of the state’s home buyers. The measure shows the convoluted extremes that California’s tangled property tax system produces.”

• The Desert Sun Editorial Board: “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. Firefighting must be a priority of state and local governments. Budgeting for anything so vital by this type of special interest ballot measure is the worst way to do so. Lawmakers should be making such key spending decisions in their regular budget work.”

• The Press Democrat Editorial Board: “Proposition 19 would allow people to buy more expensive homes anywhere in the state, while capping their property taxes. Moreover, they could repeat the maneuver three times. That might provide lots of business for real estate agents, but it would undercut school districts and local governments, the beneficiaries of property taxes. […] California’s tax system is overdue for an overhaul, but these measures make piecemeal changes that are as likely to create new problems as solve old ones. The Press Democrat recommends no votes on Propositions 15 and 19.”

Editorial Boards supporting this property tax ballot was slim, and looked something like this: 

• San Mateo Daily Journal Editorial Board: “This would enable people in high cost areas to move more easily, opening up room for new residents to the area.”

• The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board: “While critics see this as a gift to the wealthy elderly, the great majority of older homeowners are middle-income, not rich. Allowing them (as well as disabled homeowners and wildfire or disaster victims) to downsize without suffering a huge property tax hit is a humane policy that helps people retire with much less financial stress. It would also promote fluidity in home sales, increasing the availability of larger homes for families with children.”

The logic surfaced in these two supportive editorials, frankly, make no sense at all; and do not line up with the data points in the actual tax measure.

As Californians gear up to repeal this tax measure, it is important to remember that Proposition 19 changed the rules for tax assessment transfers. Homeowners used to be able to transfer their tax assessments to a different home of the same or lesser market value, which allowed them to move without paying higher taxes.  Homeowners who were eligible for tax assessment transfers were  over 55 years old, frequently with moderate disabilities, often becoming more severe as they grow older.   Revised property tax relief now looks something like this: 

The ballot measure allowed eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments anywhere within the state and allow tax assessments to be transferred to a more expensive home with an upward adjustment. The number of times that a tax assessment can be transferred increased from one to three for persons over 55 years old or with severe disabilities (disaster and contamination victims would continue to be allowed one transfer).

Parents and grandparents used to be able to transfer primary residential properties to their children or grandchildren without the property’s tax assessment resetting to market value. Other types of properties, such as vacation homes and business properties, could also be transferred from parent to child or grandparent to grandchild with the first $1 million exempt from re-assessment when transferred.

Now… the right to transfer property taxes is limited in certain circumstances. The Parent-to-Child Exclusion and grandparent-to-grandchild exemption is eliminated in cases where the beneficiary does not use the inherited property as a primary residence, such as using inherited property as a rental property or vacation home. When the inherited property is used as a primary residence but is sold for $1 million more than the property’s taxable value, an upward adjustment in assessed value would occur. The ballot measure also applied these rules to certain farms. Beginning Feb. 16, 2023, the first $1 million is adjusted each year at a rate equal to the change in the California House Price Index.

Beyond the sizzle that the California Legislature and the Realtors sold us on – it’s important, in fact crucial, that Californians remember the steak… and not continue to be fooled by the sizzle in he future; looking towards the collective fed up mood in the state, regarding this tax measure… as support slowly gathers across the state to repeal Proposition 19.

Proposition 19 and the Impact on Prop 58 & Property Taxes in California

Proposition 19 and the Impact on Proposition 58

Proposition 19’s Impact on Proposition 58

On Election Day in November of 2020, a tiny margin of votes in California swayed the outcome to pass the California Association of Realtors’ effort to convince California voters that Proposition 19 was a marvelous new property tax break to help older homeowners and families inheriting real estate from parents and grandparents.

Also, there was an extremely clever sentimental component built into the Proposition 19  marketing campaign; that was designed to sway voters with a promise to use a good deal of the projected increase in property tax revenue to beef up budgets for fire-fighters… and the educational system. So who on earth would object to revenue going in those directions?  Obviously, no one.  When in fact, from what we hear, very little revenue will actually be going in that direction, and instead will reportedly be used to pay for unfunded state government pensions “and/or related needs…”

All those opposing this property tax measure wanted homeowners over 55 and those who are “severely disabled” (and naturally this will affect a certain number of  older residents) to continue to keep the same number of times they can transfer their tax assessments.

Proposition 19 marketing language dances around this “severely disabled” issue… avoiding specific guidelines for Californians as to what marks the difference between “normally” or “moderately” disabled, let’s say… and “severely” disabled!  And instead, allows homeowners who are  over 55, and reportedly “severely disabled”, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or some other “natural disaster” – to transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state.

Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, summed it up pretty well when he said, “Proposition 19 is an attempt by Sacramento politicians to raise property taxes by removing two voter-approved taxpayer protections from the State Constitution. This measure would require reassessment to market value of property transferred from parents to children, and from grandparents to grandchildren.”

The small print, and in fact in this case micro-print, continues to give folks inheriting property from parents the ability to avoid property tax reassessment… but only if they use the property as a primary residence, and only if they move in within 12-months after the parent passes away. 

As long as this deadline is met, Prop 19 apparently does not violate the Proposition 13 transfer of property,  or property tax transfer in general… And for beneficiaries looking to sell their property shares, there are trust fund solutions to help avoid beneficiary conflicts tied into Proposition 58 and Prop 13 tax breaks, for California property owners, or to work around the new Proposition 19 property tax obstacle that forces homeowners to move into inherited property within one year or lose the “Parent to Child Exclusion”. 

Californians will still be able to transfer parents property taxes when inheriting property, and inheriting property taxes from parents –  beneficiaries can keep parents property taxes, there is no other assessment or reappraisal imposed on the Proposition 58 Transfers Between Parent and Child; Grandparent and Grandchild as discussed on the BOE site in the section regarding the Proposition 58 Parent to Child Exclusion or Parent to Child Transfer; or on any other transfer of property between siblings, such as a buyout of co-beneficiary property shares.         

“Severely disabled” is pretty vague language however.  How can you actually define that, with parameters that California trust beneficiaries, estate heirs, and homeowners can follow? Clearly, you cannot.  

Proposition 19 waters down the Proposition 58 Parent to Child Exclusion or Exemption to some degree, although we can still work with it, but it limits property tax breaks, as they say, for “certain transfers of real property between family members”. Proposition 19 limits the exclusion from reassessment for transfers from a parent to a child of $1 million of fair market value. If the property value exceeds $1 million, it will be partially reassessed but not to full market value (i.e., FMV less $1 million). If the child/beneficiary does not use the home as a primary residence, it is reassessed at full market value (FMV).  Naturally, Proposition 19 is not retroactive and will not apply to any property until it is transferred (or deemed transferred) after Feb. 15, 2021.

So far, Proposition 19 is mainly impacting the Proposition 58 Parent to Child Exclusion From Property Tax Reassessment; and the limits they reference refer only to the 12-month deadline plus beneficiaries using a property tax transfer when inheriting property taxes only for a primary residence – not for an investment property that can be rented out. They claim to be expanding tax benefits for transfers of family farms as well, although we don’t know precisely what this entails.

Children or grandchildren who inherit their parents’ or grandparents’ primary residence but do not move in as their own primary residence will be re-assessed at current market value. This will affect many families, like established family farms. For example, if a family farm that was purchased for $300,000 (600 acres at $500 per acre) a generation ago with a tax bill of $3,500 – this could be reassessed by the tax assessor to be $6,000,000 (600 acres at $10,000 per acre; price per acre could vary depending on market area) resulting in a tax of approximately $72,000.

How are families supposed to deal with this sort of tax hike? Could the California Legislature be this greedy for extra tax revenue (i.e., that they were doing perfectly well without for decades) as to completely ignore the ability for families to survive under these sort of extreme property tax conditions? In the long run, how does thousands of family farm businesses going bankrupt possibly help California?

This significant property tax increase could affect many family farms that were once profitable in terms of basic survival going forward under these tax conditions. So you understand all this and can make sense of all these details? No? Well get in line because short of attorneys and CPAs, no one else understands all the fine points either!

Why Californians Need Proposition 58 and Enhanced Property Tax Breaks

Why Californians Need Proposition 58 and Enhanced Property Tax Breaks

Why Californians Need Proposition 58 and Enhanced Property Tax Breaks

As we all know, Proposition 58 has been tampered with, in the form of Proposition 19; finally giving the CA Legislature the opportunity they have been waiting for, for decades, to water down property tax relief in California.  However, despite this, the state still has property tax relief options that are materially sound. They certainly should not be taking payment plans seriously, that are  offered up by California Governor Gavin Newsom as a realistic  way to “help” homeowners that owe the state on past due property taxes.

Sure, why not allow property owners to pay off what they owe more slowly. But the Governor and his team should also be looking at far more robust options, where homeowners can actually spend less, and save more.  So middle class residents can access the type of tax cuts and property tax breaks that rich folks have enjoyed for decades.

For once, we’re talking about tax cuts for middle class residents, the type that upscale beneficiaries receive through high-end tax attorneys and expensive CPAs; with a trust loan, in concert with tax benefits from Proposition 58… which enables them to buyout siblings who own a share of the house their family has inherited. So they can own an inherited home by themselves, with a low Proposition 13 property tax base.

For many middle class heirs, it’s a perfect package.  Although you still have to use Proposition 58 within year one after mom or dad passes… to utilize the CA Parent to Child Exemption – if you want to continue inheriting your parents’ property taxes.  To avoid paying property taxes at present market value, in order to keep parents’  low property taxes, completely avoiding property tax reassessment. 

In order to prevent a cleverly disguised Proposition 19 or Proposition 15 type of tax measure to come along and weaken, or even remove, property tax breaks for middle class residents – California needs to strengthen the state’s property tax laws, and cement measures that,    despite Proposition 19, still  can guarantee the right to a property tax transfer with a parent to child exemption, or parent to child exclusion; as long as you have a reliable trust lender you can depend on, for example like the Commercial Loan Corp. in Newport Beach, who can be reached at 877-464-1066.  They apparently have the resources to not only provide the money to equalize co-beneficiary funding, establishing a sibling-to-sibling property buyout,  with a low property tax base to avoid property tax reassessment. 

All of the details that make up the foundation of this process are  verified on blogs like this  one, Property Tax Transfer, or the micro-site that furnishes a deep dive into Proposition 13 and Proposition 58  details and narratives: Trust and Estate Loans.   And for those that prefer the hard cold facts and only the facts, there is the respected  state government Website, the California State Board of Equalization, that provides arguably the most  objective property tax relief overview available anywhere, concerning

Despite the inconveniences imposed by Proposition 19, California still has an intact, robust Proposition 13, and fairly intact Proposition 58 as long as one doesn’t exceed that first 12 month deadline period after the death of a surviving parent, or decedent… and one is sure to move into an inherited home as a primary resident, not renting it out, since this is sole bone critics of Proposition 13, Proposition 58, and the CA Parent to Child Exemption have been gnawing at incessantly for decades – using the Bridges family as their one and only example, over the past 40 years, believe it or not.

The problem with Proposition 19 forcing you, after inheriting property from your parents, to move into your parent’s home as a primary residence, or lose your ability to avoid property tax reassessment… on top of being forced to sell your own home, is the fact that your parent’s house may be too small to suit your family. Or the school district may not be suitable, or may be too far away. Or the commute to your job, after moving, may add an hour or more each way, causing another problem.  No one in the Legislature asked those questions; or even considered these issues as potential problems.

Moreover, the question has arisen among critics of Proposition 19 – is this simply a step to get us to the point where they lower the boom on us – and completely remove the parent to child exclusion, effectively wiping out this critical tax break altogether?  The question has come up… however, no one really knows the answer.

These days, post Proposition 19… California homeowners trust the State Legislature less than ever.  Once it sank in how they had been misled  by Prop 19, and had actually been duped into voting for it.   Luckily, there was enough push-back on this to prevent the CA Legislature from going too far. There is enough property tax relief in the system to be useful to the middle class… to help families that really need this kind of tax break. 

Even if Proposition 19, in terms of property tax relief and it’s front-runner tax break, the CA Parent to Child Exclusion or  Exemption, is like walking around with a sprained ankle… Californians, unlike middle class homeowners in 48 other states, will still have property tax relief to turn to. Even if it does create an inconvenience for homeowners and inheritors of real property, and does need to be repealed in the near future.  It won’t be so easy for the California Legislature communications team, and the Realtors Association press release copywriters, to spin the issues with a deceptive branding campaign and confusing marketing language mis-characterizing the CA Parent to Child Exemption… On the next go ’round it will be a very different story.

What We Need

For one, California needs property tax relief with iron-clad protection, to remain safe from any Proposition 19 or Proposition 15 type of tax obstruction or property tax hike that may come along in the near future to water down or even remove crucial property tax breaks.  Not property tax deferment, as the Governor of California has proposed… Or a payment plan to give folks owing property taxes a little more time to payoff what they owe, as proposed in San Diego by two County supervisors.  To be frank, these suggestions are stingy, and are half-way measures at best. 

Proposition 19 has made the Parent to Child Exclusion challenging enough. So why not propose enhanced property tax relief options now, in the midst of a seemingly endless pandemic.  Where most  Californians are struggling… even impacting the upper middle classes now – upscale homeowners, high-end business property owners, commercial property owning landlords with office or residential tenants, or beneficiaries inheriting property from parents…

Payment plans or deferred tax payments are not what homeowners need. They need help in terms of being able to spend less… as making more is very difficult right now.  So at least let’s help them to spend less! Significant property tax breaks will help accomplish that. Gov. Newsom must be able to see this.  He is not so dense as to miss that point.  We are sure he and his team can come up with some enhancements to what we already have. Roll back Prop 19 for one. Repeal it immediately, as unemployment continues to follow the Covid health disaster like an evil twin!

Then add components to Prop 58, instead of watering it down.  That will help middle class homeowners and commercial property owners to spend less on property taxes.  Tax breaks exactly like the billionaires have – at the disposal of the middle class.  Why should only they and not the middle class and upper middle class have authentic tax cuts?  And plan, then launch, a generous STATE Stimulus Package that will create jobs and heal the sick, as well as preventing any new infections with preventative vaccines that are reliable. This is a good start.

California Proposition 19 Lenders and Irrevocable Trusts

California Proposition 19 Trust Loans

California Proposition 19 Trust Loans

Post Proposition 19 Californians must face certain  changes to the Proposition 58 “Parent to Child Transfer” tax break, the “Parent to Child Exclusion”. 

Property owning Californians now have to grapple with specific challenges, where property tax relief is concerned. It has to be said that, with all due respect, that the realtor community  in California is straining credibility.  They backed Proposition 19, so anything they propose going forward, concerning property taxes or property tax relief, we can assume is only going to benefit the California realtor community.  Not the buyers, or renters…  or owners.  This is fairly obvious. 

Frequently being the wealthiest of the wealthy, we find it ironic that many realtors in California bleat and moan about one family – the Bridges family in Los Angeles – using the one often repeated example to advance the shaky case that everyone in California benefiting from Proposition 13 and Proposition 58 are fabulously wealthy, are elderly, and are intent on buying up all the multi-million dollar beachfront properties in the state, simply to rent out to other fabulously wealthy people from other states, vacationing in Malibu or Santa Cruz or Santa Barbara, having a grand old time – while the besotted realtor community suffers terribly from the lack of homes available to them to go to market. These claims basically debunk themselves.

Moreover, as the claim goes, all because of Proposition 13… and all those rich movie stars buying up all those luxury properties so they can make a few extra dollars every month, reportedly $10,0000 to $15,000, renting out an inherited investment property, like the Bridges do, or did. Again, Bridges being the only name ever used as an example, repeatedly in articles and editorials. Or are the Bridges the only family ever to be involved in this peculiar practice?

We simply cannot figure out why these rabid critics of property tax relief, practically foaming at the mouth, cannot locate another wealthy show business family to bring up when discussing this supposedly “out of control” practice of renting out inherited beachfront properties to vacationers at fairly egregious prices.

Apparently, according to critics of Prop 13 and Prop 58, it’s all because of the families  taking advantage of the “Parent to Child Exclusion” that the real estate market has shrunk a few percentage points over the past few years.  Utilized only, they tell us, by wealthy elderly homeowners and their offspring. No one else. No middle class families, no veterans, no retired folks living on a fixed income.  

And this argument, involving the Bridges family as the sole example of a family of multi-millionaires using an inherited home as an investment property to make a few extra dollars on the side has literally remained unchanged for going on 35 years now.   A lot of people think something is awry with this picture.  So let us take a quick look at the history behind all of this…

So what does the realtor community all across the state of California do, after putting up with supposed armies of rich elderly homeowners and their grown children, renting out inherited luxury homes on the beach for decades – along with having the nerve to actually reside in their own home for decades, simply to take advantage of Proposition 13 or Prop 58, so they can avoid property tax reassessment and rent out luxury homes to upscale tourists?

Apparently also further enraging the realtor community AND the Legislature by also taking advantage of a certain Proposition 58 transfer of property – these wealthy homeowners also take terrible advantage of the California tax system by using these Prop 58 tax breaks to buyout property shares inherited by co-beneficiaries as a transfer of property between siblings – combined with the transfer of parents’ property taxes when they are in fact inheriting property taxes from a parent.

Actually “having the gall” as many critics of property tax relief would put it in the Los Angeles Times or San Fran Chronicle, to basically save a small fortune on a property tax transfer, by exercising their right to keep parents property taxes rather than pay full freight with full up-to-date market rates – paying “their fair share” without “taking advantage” of Proposition 58’s Parent to Child Transfer, or Parent to Child Exclusion.

Apparently, the Legislature and the realtor community are so hard-up for cash that all the property owners in California should be expected to pay reassessed property tax rates, adding thousands, often tens of thousands to ones’ tax bill… and not take advantage of Proposition 13 & 58. Eventually, the Legislature and their friends at the California Association of Realtors  decided something had to be done about this perpetual injustice!

So the California Association of Realtors and other supporters of  a tax measure they called Proposition 19, in 2020, raised $63.8 million ($58.6 million from CAR) and $4.9 million from the National Association of Realtors.  Opponents raised less than $50,000 to wage a political-social campaign, and finally these critics of property tax breaks took down the dreaded Parent to Child Transfer tax break – protected by the triple-dreaded Proposition 58 tax measure since 1986. They weren’t actually able to completely remove this tax break… However, they came awfully close.

Yet as residential or commercial property owners found out, after all the hysteria died down across the state, and property owners finally realize that they had in fact been bamboozled into voting for this tax measure that was turned out after all to be a hungry tax wolf disguised as a charming sheep who just wanted to help seniors and school children. BUT – they still had plenty of property tax relief options left… they were just a bit more challenging to access. Yet that really would be a political third rail. Especially after voters in California finally saw they had been deceived. 

Therefore, despite all the worrying about this, all these property tax relief options remain intact. If we inherit parents’ property from a trust or an estate we can still take advantage of Proposition 13 & 58 to access a large 6 or 7-figure loan to an irrevocable trust to buyout co-beneficiaries so we can own it solo, and keep parents low tax base… frequently without a credit report, without up-front charges, with low interest, no hidden fees, usually in just a few days, and always with very simple terms – unlike your typical bank or credit union.

As long as we have a Prop 58 friendly trust lender, for example like the Commercial Loan Corp. who can reached at 877-464-1066 so you don’t have to hunt for the number… Plus there are a few Websites besides this blog that explore the often misunderstood process of  taking full advantages of Proposition 58 Parent to Child Transfer, or Prop 193 Grandparent to Grandchild Exemption carefully covering Transfers Between Parent and Child or  Grandparent and Grandchild.

And of course there is the often used research Website, with up to date news and  information on Proposition 13 at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association  or for a formal cutting edge look at updated information exclusively vetted and imparted for California property owners, regarding property tax relief for those impacted by Covid-19, at Andersen.com… Moreover, to take advantage of Proposition 13 & 58 whenever and wherever possible!  There is no point in ignoring any property tax assistance you can receive, one way or the other!

CA Proposition 58 and Prop 193 Exclusions

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer in California

Parent to Child Property Tax Transfer in California

Based on their recent efforts, how do the folks running the state of California, in the Legislature, think that adding property taxes will affect all these working families? Do they even consider how further unraveling property tax relief would affect the California economy as a whole? Does it ever occur to the politicos in the Legislature that going further in the direction of eliminating property tax breaks would literally be a social and financial disaster for the state as a whole?

Since Proposition 58 (as well as Proposition 193 concerning the “Grandparent to Grandchild Exclusion”) is such a critical element holding up property tax relief in the state of California, we might as well take a quick, very simple high-level look at how this all works. To take advantage of Prop 58, certain eligibility requirements must be met. For example, eligible children under this proposition include:

a) Children born of the parents in question
b) Stepchildren
c) Sons-in-law and daughters-in-law
d) Children adopted under the age of 18
e) Children of a child of grandparents (regarding Proposition 193)

Propositions 58 and 193 exclude three types of property transfers, avoiding property tax reassessment at current high market rates:

1. Transfer of a primary residence: The assessed value of a primary residence is eligible for reassessment exclusion, or exemption.

2. Transfer of property through gift, sale, or inheritance: Parent-to-child transfer through a trust will qualify for an exclusion of property tax reassessment.

3. The parent-child exclusion can only be used if the “transferee child” uses the home as the child’s primary residence, and files for the homeowner’s exemption for the property. The parent-child exclusion will not be available if the home is used as a vacation home or is rented out by the children. If the home is transferred to more than one child, they would all have to live together in the home as their primary.

4. A parent can only shelter $1 million of increased value from reassessment. Any appreciation above that will be added to the property tax assessed For instance, if the primary residence is currently assessed at $500,000 but is worth $1,500,000, the child receiving the home and using it as the child’s primary residence will keep the same property tax assessed value of $500,000. However, if the home is worth $3,000,000 and not $1,500,000, the $2,500,000 appreciation will result in an added $1,500,000 assessment; the child’s new property tax assessed value will be $2,000,000 ($500,000 current property tax assessed value + $1,500,000 of “excess appreciation”). This new limitation also applies to a family farm.

Proposition 19 eliminates the second current alternative completely. As of Feb 15, 2021, there will no longer be a Parent to Child exclusion for a transfer of any property other than the parent’s primary residence and a family farm. Although you can still get the benefit of Prop 58 and an irrevocable trust loan if you require that type of financing.

Proposition 58 does not automatically apply to each parent-to-child transfer. To receive the full benefit of Proposition 58, you are required to file within 3-years of the transfer of property ownership.

There are several forms you must file to take advantage of property tax reassessment exclusion. They are Proposition 58 Form BOE-58-AH: Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Parent and Child; or Proposition 193. Form BOE-58-G: Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Grandparent and Grandchild.

This completes a very simple, high-level view of what Proposition 58 is all about. Once you understand all that, the next step is to enlist the help of a trust lender to get approved to be able to take advantage of Prop 58 and an irrevocable trust loan for funding to equalize the finances between beneficiaries if some wish to hold on to inherited property while others are looking to sell out to outside buyers.

From that point onward, the next step is to make use of the trust fund loan process, if you wish to equalize financing between you and your siblings or co-beneficiaries, to retain inherited property from your parents and buyout property shares inherited by a sibling, or several co-beneficiaries. You can then own your inherited home without the encumbrances of co-beneficiaries to be concerned with.

Best CA Lender For A Proposition 58 Loan

California Lenders for Irrevocable Trusts

California Lenders for Irrevocable Trusts

When Should a Trust Lender Enter the Picture?

There are many ordinary, middle-income families, often referred to as “trust fund heirs” who put their assets into a trust with the help of an experienced trust lender like Commercial Loan Corp. When Mom or Dad passes away, and the property is held in trust,  some beneficiaries either sell their inherited property or they keep the property and, through  a trust loan and Proposition 58 tax benefits, manage to lock in a low property tax base, and frequently buyout an inherited property from co-beneficiaries, to be able to own an inherited  home without difficulties and complications from shared property ownership. 

On the other  hand, if beneficiaries in that position decide they’d prefer to sell the property directly to an outside buyer, instead of receiving a typically higher payment from a trust loan – then those beneficiaries will get significantly less money due to realtor fees (typically 6%) when the property sells. 

Interestingly enough, beneficiaries will generally net, on average, $16,400 or more by not selling the property – and instead having at least one sibling, a co-beneficiary, take advantage of Proposition 58.  Moreover, the average family estate will net $45,000+ more than if the property was sold outright to an outside buyer, with the  revenue from that sale being divided evenly between the  beneficiaries.

Higher taxes imposed on families by Proposition 19 will tend to compel a great deal of beneficiaries to sell their inherited property, even if their preference is to keep  the old home and/or land.  Naturally, this is often good for realtors, who will tend to bank more commission revenue from increased sales.  However It’s not good for a middle class or working class family who is suffering the loss of a generally beloved Mom or Dad.

A trust lender usually enters the picture when enlisted by a beneficiary, or beneficiaries, who wish to keep their inherited property, while buying out owned shares of the same inherited home, mutually inherited by siblings.

Trust lenders who run their practice with integrity generally work with siblings that have lost a parent and are  helped a great deal by the California Constitution’s provision that serves to protect beneficiaries from owing  thousands of dollars in property taxes,  as they settle estate or trust business matters and typically complicated financial issues.

A trust loan introduced into this type of estate or trust equation allows a beneficiary or beneficiaries, often referred to as “trust fund heirs” by realtors and real estate attorneys, to retain the home they have happily inherited from their Mom or Dad – safely and securely, at a nice low property tax base. 

Meanwhile, without having to actually sell the property, co-beneficiaries walk off happy as clams, with more cash in their pocket having had a loan to an irrevocable trust used to buyout their shares in their inherited property – than if the property had been sold to an outside buyer, at current market value. 

Middle class beneficiaries typically do their own research on how to protect their inheritance from the tax man… On property tax breaks that make real sense, on trust lenders when inheriting property taxes; on property tax transfer and estate planning; and usually on their legal right to keep parents property taxes as well as having the ability to transfer parents property taxes at the same low tax rate that their parents had. 

Many beneficiaries will conduct their own research on property tax benefits first (prior to going to a trust lender) on how to avoid property tax reassessment, on Parent to Child Transfer benefits and  the complex Parent to Child Exclusion (from current tax evaluation). 

Beneficiaries gravitate to info-sites such as the state government BOE site at https://www.boe.ca.gov  or to a well known trust lender like the Commercial Loan Corp firm we mentioned here, they can also be reached at 877-464-1066; generally due to their reputation as a firm with a family  atmosphere, where clients all seem to get treated like V.I.P.s  regardless of their net worth or the value of their inherited property.

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

Loans to Irrevocable Trusts

How Can I Inherit a Home & Keep the Low Property Tax Base?

Perhaps a lot of regular middle class folks out there waiting for an inheritance aren’t aware of it – but since 2016 many of us in the business of dealing with middle class heirs, waiting for an inheritance in trust or in an estate, involved in an unusually large number of conflicts between heirs or beneficiaries… Frequently turning ugly and downright out of control. 

As you can guess, these conflicts typically revolve around the subject of money… Frequently, in an estate scenario, one or more siblings insist on selling the home they have inherited from Mom or Dad, to generate “fast cash” – often in heated opposition to co-beneficiaries inheriting the same home, for example, who insist on retaining that property, as the emotional or sentimental value for them far exceeds the cash value. 

Hence, this often fires up a serious conflict within the family group.  Or – one or two heirs claim they should be receiving a much larger percentage of the family inheritance, which is frequently based on the sale of inherited property, as cash assets are often very modest in middle class estates these days.

Over the past four or five years, we can clearly see a significant increase in these family squabbles… often, for example, in 17 out of 20 estate or trust situations we often see in-fighting like this, that frequently destroys sibling relationships.  Or perhaps conflicts over the issue “to sell or not to sell” inherited family property, or even conflicts over the assessed value of that property… is merely the match that ignites emotional conflicts that were there under the surface to begin with.  It’s no surprise that we often see at least one or two inheritors, per estate or trust, that want  to keep their inherited home, with one or two, or more, beneficiaries pushing to sell the house as soon as possible. 

It’s very common these days to see siblings lock horns almost immediately, when the subject of selling their inherited home is raised. With additional battles flaring up over who should be receiving the larger share of cash assets – or “who” gets “what”  percentage of the home the family is inheriting.  home left by a beloved parent.  We see this pattern repeated over and over again; the same words, similar disputes and similar claims.

A Trust Loan Solution to Family Conflicts

In California, Prop 58 loans to irrevocable trusts often act as a solution to many family conflicts revolving around sibling disagreements over whether or not the family should  retain or sell inherited property from parents.  With a trust loan working in conjunction with Proposition 58 – a process referred to as Prop 58 loans to irrevocable trusts – you can then buyout  beneficiaries    and  end up owning  your inherited property by yourself.

Interestingly enough, siblings who insisted on selling out actually end up receiving more cash then if there had been no trust loan funded and outside buyers had become involved; so those siblings can move forward with their lives, leaving you in peace. Interestingly enough, most families that call  a trust lender to get this type of funding started and accomplished, know next to nothing about the process of Prop 58 loans to irrevocable trusts. 

Residential and commercial property owners should research and learn all about the benefits provided by trust lenders furnishing loans to irrevocable trusts to enable the buyout of property shares from sibling co-beneficiaries; along with CA Proposition 13 transfer of property, plus locking in a low property tax base rate in conjunction with Proposition 58 – all associated with a transfer of parents’ property and transfer of parents property taxes.

Homeowners in every state should understand what inheriting property taxes is all about, how to keep parents property taxes with property tax transfer of all sorts – and why parent to child transfer, or parent to child exclusion, is so profoundly important at the base root of property tax relief in California… and hopefully in other states as well, if motivated folks begin sending letters and emails to their representatives in Washington, and if, by a miracle, this catches on and actually sprouts results. 

Living in a state with low property taxes can provide a major benefit, rather than a liability, to your life. Even if many homes are pricey perhaps to begin with… lowering property taxes on them, to a number you can really feel, can have a profound affect on your lifestyle, and maintain the quality of your life, to where you need it to be.

Goods and services and real estate can be pricey in states like Connecticut, Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts… these are all expensive states, in terms of day to day living… However, getting a “life-toll” such as property taxes down to a manageable level can change your entire outlook on your life, eliminating that particular financial struggle.

Moreover, the concept of paying yearly taxes on something you purchase and then keep for many years, might be flawed to begin with. What other large purchase you may make continues to charge you fees such as taxes, after the initial [large] purchase? A boat? Plane? Car? Motorcycle? None. Only real property. Perhaps the whole concept of taxing real estate after the initial purchase could use some fresh, new examination.

Speaking of trust liquidation, California is still the only state in America where you can avoid property tax reassessment at current rates; capped at 2% taxation basically as long as you own property inherited from parents initially… thanks to the 1978 CA Proposition 13.  Plus, the component involving Prop 58 and  “trust liquidity” is particularly  popular with middle class beneficiaries who want to sell the property shares they have inherited from a parent, and walk off with even more cash than if they had sold out to an outside buyer.  Conversely,  Proposition 58 trust loans are just as popular with members of families inheriting property from parents, who wish to buyout their siblings, co-beneficiaries, that are looking to sell their inherited shares.

California business and residential property owners, in addition to having the right to keep parents property taxes, and transfer parents property taxes upon inheriting property, and then inheriting property taxes at the low Prop 13 two-percent tax rate maximum – can maintain a parental property tax transfer basically forever, as a Parent-to-Child Transfer, or Parent-to-Child Exclusion, as long as all requirements for Proposition 58 have been met. Californians can even apply for the same tax break on a secondary property inherited from parents.

If you’re a California property owner who is looking to buyout siblings who insist on selling their inherited property, while retaining the same inherited property from parents with a trust loan, avoiding property tax reassessment from that point on – you can find content that covers this in-depth, along with information on how to get approved for Proposition 58, on a state government Website like the California State Board of Equalization, which is found at  https://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/propositions58.htm  

A lot of folks research these issues and delve more deeply into California property tax relief, on multiple levels, at established niche  Websites such as Commercial Loan Corp…  or a free resource blog like this one, Property Tax Transfer.  Trust loans working in accord with Proposition 58 or Prop 193 make it possible for heirs and beneficiaries to sell shares of inherited property, a beneficiary buyout of sibling property shares, or as realtors put it, “the transfer of property between siblings”, and “lending money to an irrevocable trust“ – typically from an irrevocable trust loan lender.

The fact is, we need to understand all about our rights, with respect to using a 6-figure loan to an irrevocable trust — not only as a way to buyout co-beneficiaries, but also as a tax break that locks in a low property tax base in line with CA Proposition 13 parental property tax transfer. 

Every property owner in every state in America should be more familiar with current changes to property tax relief laws in California; including the pesky little details that support the invaluable system that allows homeowners and commercial property owners to buy out co-beneficiaries’ mutually inherited property — focusing on the tax laws that makes sibling-to-sibling property transfers work in California.  Someday, perhaps in every state in America, if we want to make property taxes fair and equal to all property owners in this country.

How Does the Prop 58’s Parent to Child Exclusion Work?

California Parent to Child Property Tax Exclusion

California Parent to Child Property Tax Exclusion

Importance of Retaining Proposition 58 & Property Tax Relief

Regardless of what critics of Proposition 58 and Prop 13 have to say in Op-Eds and Editorials in California newspapers… No matter how many times opponents of California property tax relief attempt to completely unravel and decimate invaluable property tax breaks protected by Prop 13 and Prop 58, during a Coronavirus pandemic no less – popular support for property tax relief in California holds… For commercial property owners and homeowners alike.

Despite a win here and there by opponents to property tax relief in California… supporters of watering down critical tax breaks such as the “Parent to Child Exclusion” win a battle here or there chiefly as a result of tricky, deceptive marketing; with slippery snake oil tax measures like Proposition 19 in 2020.

We just narrowly missed a statewide disaster, with the proposed property tax measure Proposition 15 almost passing, which would have resulted in egregious property tax hikes, raising taxes on apt building and office building landlords, commercial shopping center owners and store properties being rented out to hundreds of thousands of commercial tenants all across the state.  

This would have forced commercial and business property owners in all 58 counties in California to raise prices on all goods and services – simply to survive.  Moreover, this would have been the beginning of the final unraveling of the 1978 Proposition 13 tax relief package. The door to worse things to come, so to speak, would have been opened.  Fortunately, the door was closed.  At least for now.

The fact is, if Proposition 15 had passed in Nov. of 2020 everything you buy or rent in the state of California, even online, would have gone sky high.  So, clearly, this was a near miss of a total statewide economic melt-down. As it happens, the other deceptive property tax promoted in 2020, sponsored by the CA Legislature and the California Association of Realtors among others, Proposition 19, did in fact pass.  The lesser of two evils, so to speak.

Although not perfect, there is still enough room within the property tax system in California so beneficiaries inheriting property from parents, and homeowners, can still make good use of Prop 13, of Proposition 58 and the “Parent to Child Exclusion”…  Beneficiaries can still take advantage of trust loans and the ability to buyout co-beneficiaries if they wish to sell off their inherited ownership in inherited property… plus lock down a low Proposition 13 property tax base.  So Proposition 13 remains, for the moment, troubled… but intact.

The right to avoid property tax reassessment is crucial for California’s economic well being. It means beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and irrevocable trust loans to buyout co-beneficiaries wanting to sell off inherited property.  It means residents can inherit and keep parents property taxes, and can transfer parents property taxes. Inheriting property taxes from parents at a low base rate is critical for middle class homeowners. Otherwise, selling off inherited property becomes unavoidable and inevitable.

Middle class heirs, new home owners, frequently are not able to pay current market-value property tax rates – in a hyper expensive state… in the midst of an out-of-control pandemic, where nearly 7 million people in this state are out of work or under-employed, or are still working from home at a 50% salary level.  Not to mention the astronomical costs associated with illness and the loss of life, for family members.  Items that healthcare insurance refuses to pay for.

The folks supporting the realtor community, CA Association of Realtors, politicians running the State Legislature, and organizations such as the California NAACP State Conference, California Senior Advocates League, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, Californians for Disability Rights, and the Congress of California Seniors simply must begin to look at middle class families and working family life more realistically.  You’d think they would be,  however they apparently did not read the fine print, and were hoodwinked into voting for Prop 19 in Nov of 2020.

By simple good luck homeowners and beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and a trust loan process to buyout inherited property from siblings while locking down a low Proposition 13 protected property tax base.  Had those organizations read the fine print, they would have noticed that certain tax relief protections they took for granted were under direct attack – such as the ability for eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments within counties and to homes of equal or lesser market value;  To retain the right for folks age 55 and older, or people with disabilities, to keep the same number of times they are able to transfer their tax assessments;  To be able to transfer tax assessments on inherited homes, including inherited properties not used as primary residences, to be transferred from parent-to-child or grandparent-to-grandchild – without any issues or problems.

California still retains Proposition 13 property tax breaks, and  beneficiaries can still make use of Prop 58 and trust loan funding.  However, had Proposition 15 been successful, and had the Proposition 19 people gotten everything they had wanted – loading all these new proposed property taxes on top of regular working people would have had an extremely negative affect on the majority of the population of California.

Based on their recent efforts, how do the folks running the state of California, in the Legislature, think that adding the property taxes they had wanted to add would affect all these working families? Do they even consider how further unraveling property tax relief would affect the California economy as a whole?

Does it ever occur to the politicos in the Legislature that going further in the direction of eliminating property tax breaks, as they would like to do, would literally be a social and financial disaster for the state as a whole?

The Governor and his friends need to give this some serious thought.

 

Does Prop 58 Actually Exclude Transfers of Property from Reassessment?

Crucial Property Tax Breaks: “The Parent to Child Exclusion”

It would be worthwhile for a professional polling organization in California to conduct a objective poll or survey to see whether homeowners in particular are now more appreciative of the gift they were given in 1978 with Proposition 13 as well as Proposition 58 and how that excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children, used in conjunction with trust lenders such as the Commercial Loan Corp… referred to as a “Parent to Child Exclusion” or “Parent to Child Transfer” as attorneys like to call it. h

We believe it would be clear from such a poll that Californians now  see more clearly that such precious property tax breaks, more or less taken for granted for decades, are now under direct threat… from numerous organizations, such as the CA Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), the Governor of California and the California Legislature itself, supposedly sworn to protect the rights and financial well being of the general public and not of special interest groups such as C.A.R., California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Unions; California Nurses Association; California Professional Firefighters of California; State Federation of Labor; California NAACP State Conference; California Senior Advocates League; California Statewide Law Enforcement Association; Californians for Disability Rights; and the Congress of California Seniors; just to name a few.

Clearly, seniors, to name one of the larger demographic groups, initially bought into the rather deceptive and confusing messaging concocted by promoters of Proposition 19. And never stepped back to open the hood and examine the hidden data-points and details inside the actual tax measure itself… In other words, examining the steak – not the sizzle. The question is, are voters – seniors specifically – now struggling with buyers’ remorse?  A quick survey would answer that question. 

Only in California do you have property tax breaks for middle class property owners such as Proposition 58 and Proposition 13.  Only in California do you have tax benefits like the Prop 58 Exclusion that enables funding to irrevocable trusts; allowing beneficiaries to buyout co-beneficiaries’ shared inherited  property.  Plus, the ability to lock in a low property tax base, in line with Proposition 13, long-term. Ironically, in most other states,  domestic trusts are mainly used for the purpose of allowing affluent families to defer taxes, or to completely avoid paying certain taxes… frequently moving funds held in trust to overseas accounts. 

At any rate, basic California property tax relief still appears to be holding up, despite a few inconveniences imposed by Proposition 19… such as forcing beneficiaries inheriting a  home from a parent to move into that inherited property strictly as a primary residence, within 12-months – or lose the right to avoid property tax reassessment.

The only other option would be to sell the old home… Frequently at a loss. However, the property tax break is basically  the same as when Proposition 58 was passed by a large margin in 1986. A home and up to $1 million in assessed value of additional real property can be excluded from reassessment when transferred between parents and children. 

This keeps the property tax bill the same, with a few inconvenient additions thrown in to keep taxpayers from getting too happy, and we imagine to make realtors happier, if they are selling more properties, as a result of having more properties to sell.  Along with the CA Legislature, who undoubtedly will rake in more cash from property taxes, despite beneficiaries’ ability to take advantage of the Parent Child Exclusion or Parent to Child Exemption – despite some of the tricky new rules & regulations.  Some will not be able to partake of the Prop 58 Exclusion, and that will undoubtedly drive more cash into the state coffers…. which will make the tax assessors happier as well!

If certain beneficiaries inheriting their parents’ home and other property want to sell their shares, they would have to pay much higher property taxes over that average year and a half time-frame, from the date of death to the close of escrow – yet they can avoid owing on average $8,500 in extra property taxes if they are careful to utilize a trust fund loan in conjunction with the Prop 58 “Parent to Child Exclusion”.

These are invaluable options left to California homeowners and commercial property owners; which should be appreciated by residents of this state, as these property tax breaks are basically  unavailable anywhere else in this country. 

We suggest that Californians try to make the most of these gifts… and at the same time, as this is no longer business as usual due to continued efforts to take these property tax relief measures away from middle class property owners — do as much as possible to actively protect these tax breaks. 

As we have now seen, like democracy itself, there is a very thin line between maintaining property tax relief, and losing it forever.

 

Lowering Property Tax Rates for All Homeowners During the Pandemic

Lowering Property Tax Rates

Lowering Property Tax Rates

In California, Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom signed an executive order on May 6th, 2020, to extend the deadline for homeowners who were scheduled to pay their property taxes on April 10th – and to extend business property owners’ deadline of May 7 to complete and file their business property statement. This was supposed to “provide relief for taxpayers suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19”.  Moreover, Governor Newsom referred to his offer to taxpayers as “property tax relief…”

To be clear, we neither support nor oppose the governor of California here at Property Tax Transfer.  But when we hear something this blatantly disingenuous coming from any politician, we simply must question it.  Property tax relief is property tax relief.  Property tax relief is Proposition 13 or Proposition 58… Genuine property tax relief in California is the lessening, or  lowering, or complete elimination of – property taxes.  What Governor Newsom is referring to is not property tax relief… It’s  property tax deferment.  Putting off payment for a few months.  We would appreciate it very much if political leaders in California would not use such an important term as “tax relief” falsely.

Now, it is entirely possible that the Governor actually wanted to forgive payment completely for certain taxpayers. And under the severe conditions imposed on all of us due to the Coronavirus health crisis and resulting job losses, and lower income suffered by millions of workers in the state – the governor could very possibly have been besieged by political colleagues, and talked out of tax relief – into  tax deferment…  However, why not hold out and insist on giving taxpayers a real break through enhanced Proposition 58 and Proposition 13  – or actually forgive most of these property taxes completely for one  year, or at least discount them considerably?  According to state economists, it would not even have amounted to one quarter of the tax cuts the federal government gave to the wealthiest Americans two years ago!

Many economists have asked, why is it that  a few hundred billionaires and multi-millionaires recently received hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax cuts as “tax-welfare” and “corporate-welfare”, so to speak.  Yet, in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, resulting in the worst job loss disaster since the Great Depression – 160 million middle class and working class property owners received nothing even close to the trillion dollar tax cuts afforded to just a handful of mega-wealthy families only a couple of years ago.

Many financial analysts in California have pointed out that the folks in power in this state did not mind shelling out trillions then – yet now on a state level, when middle class taxpayers desperately need an obvious financial boost such as a property tax cut, or property tax break, the best our state government can do is come up with an essentially useless  tax deferment proposal, and no actual tax cut… or tax relief.  These analysts do have a point.

Local government apologists claim that the $140 billion in property taxes that California typically receives every year is urgently needed right now to pay for essential pandemic services – to cover the cost of public health departments in 58 counties; to cover public hospitals; and – to pay for the school system, which is always sort of tacked on, as if they can’t find that money anywhere else. Local California government agencies insist that they stay open only due to funding that is largely based on… property taxes.

State agencies wrote a letter to the Governor, stating, “Delaying such a large infusion of general funds for two to three months would have a serious impact on their ability to provide these services.” They did not even want to go along with the proposal for deferment that the governor suggested! 

Some folks in the press wisely asked – is not keeping millions of Californians (many whom are elderly, and living on a fixed income) from being evicted and completely losing their home not anessential pandemic service”?

Gov. Newson has forced businesses to shut down, and most certainly will again, understandably and with good intentions – sending workers home to try to slow the spread of Covid 19. Admittedly, the pandemic is out of control in California, as it is in many red states. Folks in all these states want their “freedom”… and so it looks like they are therefore free to avoid wearing masks, free to contract Coronavirus, and free to infect others.

The Governor, ignoring this mass appeal for freedom, closed down businesses back in May anyway.  As a result,  many homeowners were not able to pay their property taxes. Companies all across California have closed to comply with Governor Newsom’s shutdown order to slow the spread of the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 respiratory complications.   Yet if you’re going to close down those companies, hopefully temporarily, and send workers home at half or no pay – wouldn’t it make sense to then give those workers a significant financial break, as in increased property tax breaks… somewhere along the line, somehow? Such as Coronavirus Prop 58 and Proposition 13 property tax relief!

Certainly homeowners and beneficiaries inheriting property from parents can still get a trust loan to buyout co-beneficiaries, and lock down a low property tax base… but reinstating Proposition 58, in terms of the changes Prop 19 has brought about, and adding more teeth to existing property tax breaks that can save Californians significant amounts of cash every month… Would be so relevant during a pandemic, that it’s almost absurd to have to bring it up — when it’s not even in discussion in the Congress or  the Senate.  Not to mention the California Legislature.

So… when the governor calls a two or three month property tax deferment “property tax relief”… it’s no wonder that taxpayers reacted negatively.  Property tax relief refers to lowering the amount to be paid.  Not deferring the payment date!

Governor Newsom told us recently that more than 1.6 million Californians have filed unemployment insurance claims, which the state is struggling to organize and process, to get those checks out. It’s fine to send folks that are out of work unemployment checks – they have paid into that every working week.  But wouldn’t it make even more sense to give them all a property tax break, eliminating Proposition 19 restrictions in light of the Covid outcomes? Preferably forever… But at least as long as the Covid virus rages?