Publisher’s note: This editorial is from the March 12, 2012, Sacramento Bee.
No single politician is going to change Proposition 13, the iconic 1978 initiative that slashed property taxes, anytime soon.
It’s easy to understand why. A Field Poll last September showed that 34 years after its passage, voters by a ratio of more than 2-to-1, 63 percent to 29 percent, support Proposition 13. However, support narrows when the question is limited to altering commercial property taxes.
Starting today, a handful of political leaders and advocates are reopening a conversation about aspects of the system of assessing property taxes on businesses. That’s an important step.
This coming November, Gov. Jerry Brown will ask Californians to approve a ballot measure to raise income and sales taxes by about $5 billion a year for five years. That initiative would help the state close the budget deficit.
But to fix California’s system of financing government, thoughtful people must devise a fair restructuring of the state and local tax system. Proposition 13 ought to be part of that discussion.