Enemies of Prop. 13 Delay Attack on Iconic Initiative

property taxA reporter for the Bay Area News Group stopped by the government office in Santa Clara County and concluded that while people standing in line to pay their property taxes were upset with the heavy burden, they had scant knowledge of California’s iconic Proposition 13. What most were probably unaware of is that their taxes would be at least twice as high without Prop. 13.

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Many people who live in California today were not here in 1978 when Proposition 13 was passed overwhelmingly by voters. Today’s younger homeowners have little idea how frightened and angry citizens were in the mid-1970s when their property taxes doubled or even tripled from the previous year.  Homeowners were literally being taxed out of their homes.

But despite having no personal memory of the pre-Prop. 13 era, most Californians have at least heard of Proposition 13 and, when prodded, recall it somehow helps to keep escalating property taxes in check.

In June, Proposition 13 will hit its 40th birthday. While long-time homeowners will surely celebrate, those in government with an insatiable appetite for taxpayer dollars are hoping that voters will be ready to weaken it.  But previous attacks on Proposition 13 have come up short. At most, Prop. 13 was weakened by court decisions involving fees and charges as well as attacks on the two-thirds vote requirements.  But those attacks were quickly countered by subsequent ballot initiatives such as Proposition 218 in 1996, the Right to Vote on Taxes Act, which reinforced Prop. 13’s original intent.

Knowing that a direct attack on Proposition 13’s protections for homeowners is a fool’s errand, the tax-and-spend interests have focused on raising property taxes on business property. This so-called “split roll” effort has gone on for about 30 years and has never really gained any serious traction. According to these interests, 2018 was going to be the year where they would finally be able to take a big chunk out of Prop. 13 by hitting commercial real estate with several billion dollars in higher taxes.

The optimism displayed by Proposition 13’s detractors has been based in large part on the expected “blue wave” of voters coming out in support of progressive candidates. Liberal Democrats believe, rightly or wrongly, that voter disgust with the Trump administration might at least allow them to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The thinking, at least until recently, has been that November of 2018 would be the right moment to fracture the pro-Proposition 13 alliance because of an energized progressive base, low voter turnout and fading memories of 1978.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box. After beginning a serious effort to collect signatures for their “split roll” initiative, the proponents have taken their foot off the gas and announced that, instead, they will attempt to qualify the measure for the 2020 ballot. The ostensible reason for the delay is that it would give them more time to expand their coalition (of course, the same can be said for Prop. 13 defenders) and that the voter turnout model in 2020 would be better for them – a dubious claim indeed.

Split-roll proponents might be having second thoughts about what they thought was a weakening of support for Prop. 13 or the political strength of their own coalition. Perhaps they’ve seen polling – both private and public – revealing Proposition 13’s continued popularity. Whatever the reason, this November’s election will not present a direct threat to Proposition 13. …

Click here to read the full article from the Orange County Register


  1. Really??? says

    Note to self…. 40 years old. That means the roll over of ownership that will increase the tax base is happening as we speak.

    People die, and become older wanting to change residences.

    The greedy big government Democrats cannot stand that even with this increase they will be blocked from “usury” that destroys the middle class and blocks the lower classes from having homes. That gives them the “excuse” to then create government controlled, owned, or created housing. It is the Socialist dream.

  2. If the Democrats get behind destroying Prop. 13 they will come to a quick end in California. Many elderly people would lose their homes if it were to go.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

  3. Demwits that try to get rid of Prop 13 will soon be looking for new jobs no matter if they think they are in safe districts or not..They will be fools

  4. Jerry Todd says

    From my 2010 book, 25 Constitutional Values for Politicians and the People who Vote for Them:

    California voters were given an option by voting for Proposition 10 on the same ballot as 13. Proposition 10 was the repeal of the usury laws so lenders would again finance California’s needs at “competitive” interest rates.
    The consequences were swift in coming:
    1. Proposition 13 – County and municipal tax revenues dried up to the point that schools, parks, roads and public safety suffered for lack of operating capital.
    a. Desperate communities turned to the State for funds to support their obligations. The state pleaded poverty shortly after and turned to the Federal Government. The Feds were seemingly reluctant, but it was apparent that there were devious minds at work, seeing an opportunity to further undermine states rights.
    b. Property owners rejoiced over the lifting of the burden of high taxation. Howard Jarvis was, and still is, a hero.
    c. The Feds have long yearned to have a more active role in health, education and welfare and took advantage of the California dilemma. They even set up a Department of Education to “help” poorer school districts by drawing funds from wealthier ones. Note that when “progressive” President Obama was sworn in, his first act was to cancel a very successful academic program at the beleaguered Washington, DC School district to the dismay of students (all black) and their parents. Paying off unions is more important than educating kids at the “progressive” level.
    d. Schools and their districts often and should reflect the personality and wealth of the communities they serve. Bakersfield College, one of the nation’s premier junior colleges,

    has a huge campus plus several satellites. There are more students at BC than were at the University of Illinois main campus when I attended there in the mid 1950’s. Because of Kern County’s oil and agricultural wealth and the avid interest in sports of local fans, it also features an 18,000 seat double tier stadium, all built with local tax dollars, the way the locals wanted it built. Try that one today!
    e. By the way, junior colleges have been the butt of fiscal restraints in recent years, given the “progressive” attitude that every child should go to Harvard – God help us, our Constitution and private enterprise! Junior colleges better serve the employment needs of the local community; are more efficiently run than the effete universities and their too often arrogant academics.
    f. Underclassmen at the universities get instructors and masters degree candidates to teach their entry level courses. Junior colleges feature Masters and Ph.D.’s on their staffs, plus real experts from local industries and professions. Note: among the 35 or so czars in the White House, not one would know how to serve up a hamburger at McDonald’s, much less tell the rest of the country how to live under “progressive” totalitarianism.
    g. Most teachers are dedicated to their calling and usually earn less than their friends in private business, but about the same as most “public servants” (an archaic term with government workers now making about 60% more than the taxpaying private sector.) Fledgling teachers unions saw the opportunity for power and joined the rush to federalized education.
    h. Then along came Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society that put the finishing touches on creating a dependency class and a huge government “welfare industry” that feeds on it.
    i. With government intrusion in the education (including environmental “education” in Cartesian half-truths) and welfare fields, driving up costs and putting draconian restraints of free enterprise the economy has been drained so that employers and the medical industry – once like pre-1938 Austria – the envy of the world found it rough to support traditional employee health plans.
    j. The poor were always taken care of through dedicated medical professionals, drug companies, church and foundation related very high class facilities – Shriner’s Hospitals, St. Jude Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Cedars-Sinai hospitals, Sansum Clinic, to name a few. These were vilified and restricted to the point that we have been burdened with a 3,000 page health care bill we are now aware must be repealed or the nation will die.
    2. Proposition 10 – Interest rates on auto, home, and appliance and business loans skyrocketed just as the Japanese were becoming competitive in manufacturing – especially in vehicles with great fuel economy.
    a. High interest rates were a favorite tool of “progressive” Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker during the Carter Administration. Volcker understands what it takes to push a society off balance to achieve nefarious ends. High taxes, inside stock manipulation and high interest rates have a devastating effect on the economy. Low interest stimulus money, created against new and unrequited debt are just as effective in bringing down an economy to better control the populace.
    b. High taxes actually reduce government income because the available money in circulation is reduced, thereby stifling business. Financiers call the rate of circulation of money, “velocity.” Under the Obama “Stimulus Bills – under whatever name, velocity is reduced to a crawl, yet the “progressives” want to raise taxes!
    c. Stock manipulation can wrest control of a company from those who took the risks to build it. Oftentimes bankers and investment houses collude to put a company under stress to drop its stock value. Credit lines are restored after the thievery is accomplished.
    d. High interest rates as experienced under Paul Volcker launched societal changes the nation has deteriorated under ever since. With home loan interest in the 12-18% range, up from 4-7%, virtually doubling monthly payments. Homebuyers, usually young entry level couples, could not qualify on the husband’s paycheck alone. A benevolent government changed the qualification standards to include the wife’s income. Women usually had a hard time buying property as sole owners, but a couple could achieve the American dream of owning a home. The net result was that the wife had to find a job. Consequences?
    i. Financial pressures on families as well as emotional pressure for the wife especially to remain the heart of the home.
    ii. With babies on the way, the wife was forced to cut her employment short to birth and mother a child. More financial pressure.
    iii. Divorce rates skyrocketed as either financial pressures destroyed relationships or the wife found a new love interest out in the working world. If she had feminist tendencies, she might bolt to “find herself.”
    iv. Child care became a problem, so government got involved in the day care business, beginning the fulfillment of the feminist dream to have the state raise children. More financial pressure on family, church, community, state and happily for the “progressives,” the Federal Government.
    v. The Equal Rights Amendment pushed by feminist “progressives” included a woman’s right to choose. Like “hope and change” today means dumping the Constitution for a move to global secular government, “right to choose” means abortion on demand. After all, how can a liberated woman maintain a career if she’s burdened with the natural process of assuring the continuation of the species?
    vi. With the breakdown of families, especially in the minority community, only “progressive” Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” could save us. Since then, divorce rates have increased, homosexuality increased as more children were raised in single family homes, school dropout rates and juvenile crime continued to rise. Los Angeles Unified School District has about a 60% dropout rate, yet it spends a whopping $30,000 per student – 20 times what my wife’s school required to turn our smart, reliable citizens who finished school and made a mark for themselves.

  5. Mr. Pickle says

    A “Pissed Off” Senior Citizen is nothing to mess with…………Pitch forks and all. Every Dem who is involved in the repeal of Prop 13 needs to be unelected as soon as possible…….. and names NAMED! If those same clowns would work on cost cutting, waste and abuse rather than pie in the sky important things like grocery bags, needle exchange monitors and such, maybe we could fix this state and the mess and taxes and fee’s led by the “D” for Dork party. Remember, prop taxes usually goes UP 2% a year, or 10% every 5 years. Do the math and it is scary what you will be paying in 30 years………………… Even w/ P-13.

  6. Steve Cagle says

    The jaggoffs who have been running California (into the ground) have end run Prop 13 with a myriad of other taxes, fees, surcharges, etc. to more than make up for it. Incredibly, now they want to blow P13 up and tax the bejeebers out of us for prop tax increases in addition to all the above. These politicians do not deserve to breathe.

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