We still love Prop. 13: Field Poll

September 23, 2011

Californians still love their 33-year-old Prop. 13, the property tax reduction amendment, according to the results of the latest field poll released today.

By more than two to one, voters told pollsters that they would vote to endorse the measure again today if the measure was put before them. The same number would jettison any proposal aimed at amending Prop. 13.

The Field Poll sampled 1,001 registered voters in both English and Spanish.

Over the years, public officials have found themselves bogged down in searches for more revenues in the aftermath of passage of the popular amendment, and have since its passage in 1978 tried to find ways to weaken, circumvent, or simply ignore the law. Few have succeeded.

Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann authored Prop. 13 in an environment where property taxes were being hiked regularly by politicians and bureaucrats, and many homeowners believed their domiciles were threatened. Overwhelming support from seniors has helped the amendment retain its luster, as it prevents property tax increases from being assessed without a vote of those affected. It also allowed seniors to avoid increases as long as they remained in their homes.

Over the years, both local and state politicians have attempted without much success to augment shrinking tax revenue streams from myriad other sources.


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43 Comments

  1. bobfromsanluis says:

    I have lived in California all my life, and voted against Prop. 13 because I thought it was poorly written, both by allowing properties to remain in family trusts without any increases in taxes, and because the budgets that had to be trimmed by school districts did not enumerate any specifics so nowhere will you see a school district ever trimming their administration or perks, but they will cut the arts, electives and athletics as much as they have too to make up for the bloated administrations. The way Prop 13 is currently written in how it deals with single family residences should NOT be changed in any way, BUT there should be changes made in dealing with the issue of family trusts and all commercial holdings. If a really targeted specific re-writing of Prop 13 could also include some guidelines for how school districts are allowed to budget; perhaps a certain percentage of administration costs could be mandated to be trimmed along with any cutting of school programs or eliminating teaching positions. I have read before that some school districts actually pay for insurance coverage for school board members and even automobiles for them to drive; have the cuts in education really been made where they should be made?

    (-2) 6 Total Votes - 2 up - 4 down
    • slomike says:

      There are inefficiencies and waste in any organization, public or private. But you see the terrible (and deteriorating) schools California now has relative to some other states, it makes you want to cry. Even moderate increases in funding would help. I saw today that Greece is putting in a national property tax. The big hurt is coming. I don’t believe anybody’s old age is going to be as secure as we thought it would be.

      (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
  2. shelworth says:

    I’ve got a good idea; why doesn’t slomike sell everything he owns, and divide it up between a dozen or so homeless people? He will feel better about things then. Me, I’d like to be able to keep everything I’ve worked for so I don’t have to suffer in my old age.

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
    • slomike says:

      I’ll take that under advisement. Elizabeth Warren, running for senate in Massachusetts, has an interesting perspective about everything people have worked for.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
      • Cindy says:

        Thanks Mike, I understand where you and Elizabeth Warren are coming from and I don’t entirely disagree. It’s true that the guy who built the factory could not have prospered on his own without the work force that we all collectively paid to educate. It’s true that he ship’s his product on roads that we collectively paid to build. However, I can’t agree that the factory owner, therefor owes “extra” in taxes because he has prospered through the use of the collective citizens labor and infer structure.

        Warren’s rhetoric falls short when she fails to recognize that the factory owner has created the means by which roads are built and children are educated. This cycle is perpetuated only through the means of the successful factory owner. Second – The employer already does contribute a great deal more in taxes than the members of his work force (who’s competence is argued as owing to the collective educational institutions). He matches every mandated penny of social security tax and medi-care tax that each of his workers contribute (to the collective). He pay’s the state up to an equivalent of 4% of the factory’s gross payroll to fund the unemployment roles, he pay’s business taxes, city taxes, PUC (freight) taxes for use of the roads, taxes on his factory & office machines annually, ( on the same machines every year as long as he owns them less the accumulated depreciation), he pay’s his personal income taxes, and the product he manufactures generates sales taxes. I could go on ……… however this is the basic foundation supporting the flip side of Warren’s coin toss.

        The answer, I believe is somewhere in the middle.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • racket says:

        Seems to me the factory owner profited by the roads we all paid for and owes a share. But each worker profited too, and therefore owes a share.

        In the case of education, yes the factory owner profited by hiring publicly educated workers, but guess what, *so did the workers*. And I would say the workers individually profited MORE by being educated for their positions than the owner profited by their individual contributions.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  3. slomike says:

    You know, everything was different “back in the day”. We were fighting communists until 9/11 told us times had changed. There was a new enemy. Cutting and cutting taxes may have made sense…at one time. However, economic times, like world political times, have changed. Proposition 13 did not come down from Mount Sinai. Change it. If you can’t change it, raise revenue another way. It is past time to pick up the check. Redistribute wealth, use class warfare…whatever it takes. And get out of this Tea Party echo chamber endless loop. You are dragging the world into a second depression by holding onto outdated “principles”. And you won’t be spared, either.

    (-4) 16 Total Votes - 6 up - 10 down
    • Cindy says:

      If you want to pay for the perks and power lunches, be my guest. As far as I’m concerned, there is too much waste in government. The more they have the more they spend. Our “gobment” will never have enough money. Let them clean themselves up, adhere to their budgets and dumb the slack, including with the worthless cronies that so many of our illustrious incumbents created positions for.

      Give them more money? MY A$$.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • mrcyberdoc says:

      People wouldn’t mind paying taxes if the government (fed, state, & local) WERE NOT SO WASTEFUL. We have a million dollar project on Santa Ysabel in Los Osos to slow traffic down, concrete ramps at the interestions for wheel chairs that lead to non-existant sidewalks. These are the kind of things people see and want to close their pocketbooks to government spending.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
      • racket says:

        Loud and clear, here, Doc.

        I missed my opportunity to bitch recently when the state was going to spend $500,000 to landscape a local intersection.

        Might have been 46W and 101, can’t remember, but a half million dollar landscape job for an intersection speaks volumes about why we don’t want to participate with our government.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
    • Maxfusion says:

      Make no mistake, we’re still fighting communists the likes of an Elizabeth Warren and others of that ilk.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. R.Hodin says:

    If I had a chance to vote for a free lunch today (and be able to pay for it Thursday) I would do it in a NY minute

    (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
  5. isoslo says:

    The problem with Prop XIII is that it is a poorly written law. It grants huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy families by allowing assessed values to stay at uninflated values as long as the property does not change owners. It does grant homeowners the same break but over time few homeowners get any substantial tax savings. A better alternative would be a homeowners exemption for owner occupied properties equal to your age as a percentage, thereby reducing property tax every year you own and occupy the property. Let businesses and inheritees pay the going rate.

    (-10) 20 Total Votes - 5 up - 15 down
    • mrcyberdoc says:

      That’s an interesting idea. We’ll stash granny in the closet after she passes. A great tax break. Statistics I have read say people move every 7 years in California on average. Granted many are renters, but it also includes a substantial number of homeowners. Some counties allow them to sell and rebuy in the same county and pay the same property tax as long as the purchase price of the new house is equal to or less than the selling price of their existing house. Counties have made up much of the difference in new home construction. You end up paying for a new classroom, etc. with the exorbitant fees they charge before the first shovel of dirt is turned.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  6. Mr. Holly says:

    Why would anyone in their right mind even think of adjusting Prop. 13? You would have to own nothing and expect more entitlements from the government.
    You think the housing market is depresses now? it would be depressed beyound your wildest imagination if Prop. 13 was done away with. I think even the liberals, if they owned a house, would balk at this.

    (14) 20 Total Votes - 17 up - 3 down
  7. shelworth says:

    Check this out; http://retirementliving.com/RLtaxes.html. You will find that California has some of the highest Property, Sales, Income taxes in the Country. Most States only have one high tax and keep the others low or don’t use them at all. If you raise Property taxes in California home prices would crash even worse than they have. What would that do to homeowners and lenders? It would be the final nail in the coffin.

    (16) 16 Total Votes - 16 up - 0 down
  8. rogerfreberg says:

    Well, most don’t remember… and many today weren’t even alive when Proposition 13 took charge in California. Before Proposition 13, life was fairly tough on homeowners and there were many stories of folks being forced out of their homes on fixed incomes. For those who would like to remember the bad-old-days… it’s all said here on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY6-YVFvtFQ

    Taxes, fees and governmental charges have been designed to hit the middle class hardest… including the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

    (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
    • easymoney says:

      Good post roger…
      All these taxes, fees and charges hit the working class the worst…
      Never has my tax gone down…

      And like slorider says: “Property tax = RENT (as in, you don’t own it, the government rents it to you)”
      This is spot on, just add up all the fees, taxes and charges made on “your” property including your property tax and you will be amazed at how much we pay…

      (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down

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