Opinion: Time to talk about Prop. 13

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.

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Comments (16)
  1. Sunriser2 says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    Maybe they should conduct a poll to see how people feel about public employee unions and worthless green BS.

  2. Tahoeadvocate says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    To balance a budget, list all the programs which government MUST (not wants to) DO. Stop doing everything else then look at how much money you are already raising from sales tax, income tax, utility tax, property tax, license fees, Etc., Etc. Now return the excess money to the taxpayer because government is doing way more than it should. Personal responsibiilty should take priority for helping our neighbors not abdicating that to the government which is extremely inefficient in spending money.

  3. Blubird says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    With 30+ Yrs. of being on the wrong side of every issue that would benefit our middle-class families,and the horrific failure of their ‘hate the gubmint, every man for hisself, get a job and take a bath hippie hatin’ reaganite buffoons’ staring them in the face… they soldier on… like The Walking Dead. Their candidates for ’12 reflect them.

  4. fromform says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    overwhelming response to the poll, sunriser, is to eliminate public sector unions.

  5. DAVID DEWITT says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    Prop 13 the most hated (by politicians) tax proposition in California they just can not stand it ‘ a tax they can not raise.

  6. JoeStirumup says - Posted: March 12, 2012

    California’s problem isn’t paying for government it’s problem is that there is TO MUCH GOVERNMENT.

    Over paid, over regulating, arrogant government.

    There, that sums it up.

  7. Lisa says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    Time to modify it and has been for years. Why should 1 vote, cancel out two others. Jarvis wanted to legislate from the grave and he has been able to do so. Change it to a simple majority and let the people decide.

  8. dogwoman says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    Lisa, why should a renter be able to vote to increase the property taxes for a property owner?
    If I could vote to increase YOUR taxes while not increasing my own, why wouldn’t anybody do that?
    That was one of the points of prop 13.

  9. the conservation robot says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    So you are saying that only property owners should be allowed to vote?
    I thought you loved the constitution?
    Your point also assumes that the renters do not aspire to own property one day.
    Half baked conservatism.
    I don’t think heterosexuals should be allowed to vote in the case of same sex marriage.
    People who don’t own cars shouldn’t be allowed to vote for highway bills, road maintenance, car insurance matters, etc.
    People who aren’t eligible for social services shouldn’t be allowed to vote to cut social services.
    Man should not be able to vote on abortion.
    Peopl who don’t believe in evolution shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Period.

  10. Hang Ups From Way Back says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    Don’t worry robot the social evolution is going to kill all us in a matter of time.
    It’s kinda been proven that laws are made to be broken to keep humans somewhat unthreating but if you got a big enough bank account you can wave the crimes pay the fee .

  11. dogwoman says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    There’s the Robot, putting words in other people’s mouths again.
    Except for that last sentence. I know that is your own.

  12. Criticalthinker55 says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    When the dependents outweigh the producers CA will implode.

    Laughable thought that Govt and Dems are looking out for the middle class. Hilarious.

  13. the conservation robot says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    It isn’t putting words into people mouths it is extrapolating the consequences of an idea to other scenarios to demonstrate how ridiculous the idea is.
    Putting words into someone’s mouth would be ‘so you’re saying that we should revert to a feudalistic society’ Which is accurate. If I said ‘you hate poor people’ it would be over the line.

    Why does that statement about evolution offend you? You don’t… *gasp*

  14. dogwoman says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    Doesn’t lording your superiority over the masses ever get tiresome for you, Robot?
    It gets tiresome listening to you. Stayed away a week and I think I’ll go away again. You say nothing of value.

  15. Videls Cadet Ova says - Posted: March 13, 2012

    In Robots defense, at least we understand what he is saying. He speaks from an informed viewpoint, whether you agree or disagree. He doesn’t spout the same incoherent blather over and over with no correlation to the topic being commented on, unlike some contributors to these threads: JOE S, Hang U. He posts with correct spelling and grammar. And he takes the time to research his point and gives links to that research.

  16. Lisa says - Posted: March 14, 2012

    Yes Dogwoman that is EXACTLY what I am fine with. That is what a democracy is. As it is now, my vote is only 2/3 of yours and that is not right. Commercial properties rarely change hands for big companies while houses eventually do. That means HP is paying 1970’s property taxes (as is Apple which has more cash than most states). Why would people vote yes or no on an issue which doesn’t effect them personally? Hopefully because they become informed voters and they are a part of the whole community that benefits or loses together.