SLO County supervisors argue over Proposition 13 protections

September 13, 2023


The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to no longer support the two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes in its state legislative platform, while arguing over the meaning of Proposition 13.

Before the supervisors discussed the proposed changes, 20 members of the public asked the board to support the Proposition 13 taxpayer protections listed as platform items 14 and 15. In addition, several speakers accused supervisors Bruce Gibson and Jimmy Paulding of bullying Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg to vote in lockstep with them.

Gibson voiced his support of taking both taxpayer protections off the platform, while accidentally referring to one as item 13. Gibson argued that lowering the votes necessary to raise taxes to a simple majority was more democratic.

Before discussing the issues, Paulding chastised community members for what he determined was uncivil behavior. During public comment, multiple people criticized Paulding for wanting to raise taxes and fees while many members of the community are having trouble paying their bills.

Noting he is a strong supporter of Proposition 13, Paulding made a conflicting motion which included removing support for the two-thirds majority vote required to raise taxes (which is part of Proposition 13), while also including a statement against any modification of Proposition 13.

Supervisor Debbie Arnold then informed Paulding that Proposition 13 not only protects the public from property tax increases of more than 2% a year, it also includes language requiring a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes.

Paulding argued that his motion didn’t “remotely touch Proposition 13.”

Ortiz-Legg said she supported eliminating the two-thirds vote required to raise taxes because of funding needed for infrastructure. However, she suggested a rewording of Paulding’s motion to remove the conflicting content.

Instead of addressing her concern, Gibson chastised Ortiz-Legg for referring to item 15 as item 14, and she dropped her request.

Gibson, Paulding and Ortiz-Legg than voted in favor of Paulding’s motion. Peschong voted “Hell no,” and Arnold said, “The biggest no I have ever given.” Paulding’s motion passed 3-2.

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There are a lot of things wrong with Prop. 13, but it is the sacred cow of California politics. Any politician going after it will be in trouble at the ballot box. Although corporations and the wealthy (Warren Buffet pays less than $4k property tax per year for a multi-million dollar beach house in Laguna Beach) have exploited it, the law has kept many people in their houses at a time when real estate prices have skyrocketed in California. I just hope a common sense candidate runs against Gibson next time. He has to go.

I’m curious if any of this would have happened had the CCN crowd not screamed bloody murder about Gibson apparently being hypocritical (he was not). Now the legislative platform is more pro-tax reform, reaping what was sown.

For too long Prop 13 has been a sacred cow, a third rail like social security, or the Jones Act. If 65% of Californians want to rework the tax code, now they’re legally allowed to. How is this unreasonable?

When Paulding was on the AG city council he never missed an opportunity to try and take more from the residents, in taxes and fees, this should be no surprise with him on the BOS.

You give them a inch they take a mile !! Dem’s have run the state for yrs ( in the ground I would add ) and the 2/3 vote requirement is the only thing that has saved the people because there are enough non Dem’s who block it.To give yourself a 26 % raise on top of your already overpaid salary while trying to take away the only fair thing that happened to the taxpayer is really hitting the bottom of the barrel

I really hope this information reaches the voters and finally takes down Bruce Gibson and his bullying hypocritical ways. He enjoys financial security yet raises his own salary unabashedly, while fighting to take down the only protection that will allow me, as a retiree on a fixed income, to remain a homeowner in this state. And the increase in taxes will be passed along to renters, so we will all continue to circle the drain. The guy has been a miserable disappointment and an unethical human, but they just keep voting him in. (Anyway that’s what they’re telling us…)

Jimmy Paulding you speak out of both sides of your mouth I am stunned at how you even got elected after you very lack luster performance as Arroyo Grande City Council member. My hope is the electorate can see passed your external polish…That can only carry you so far Jimmy….

SLOCO5, look at the $150T annual in salary and benefits that you, as fiduciaries, are paying many, many “public servants”. County compensation is out of control.

Jimmy is finding it hard to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Hell NO should be the only vote.

Their colors now show for all to see. Our B of S provided extra funding to attract more HOMELESS and now want to simplify new taxes that will raise rents to service their unfunded pensions. With at least 60% SLO housing non-owner occupied, it will not be the landlords that raise rents it will be the Board of Supervisors doing that. Tenants will fall victim by their proposal to lower the vote percentage. If there is any doubt on who works in government, check the freeway traffic on any holiday that you don’t get off. I’d guess that well over 55 percent work in or on a government job.

Absolutely correct…

Traffic is a policy choice, although I don’t think it’s because smug liberals are playing pickleball on MLK Day.

Also clearly low property taxes aren’t the reason California is famous for high ownership rates and affordable housing (it isn’t). But it might be (part of) the reason our schools are the nations worst and our roads are worse than places where it snows most of the year.

Hmmm. Isn’t that why we pay almost 60 cents a gallon in gas tax and yet have the most embarrassing roads? I know – this time we can trust them to use the money for good, right? SMH.

Motorists don’t like to hear this, but the truth is that Californians drive a lot, destroying their own roads, and gas tax although high, doesn’t cover the cost of maintenance/construction in California which is high due to labor costs, high cost of shutting roads, and expensive NIMBY environmental reviews.

Also although you won’t believe me, I would be happy to raise property taxes and in exchange lower income/capital gains, lower gas tax, raise vehicle fees so that electric cars (which do extra road damage because of their weight) pay their fair share.

Your plan essentially ensures that homeownership will increasingly be for the sole enjoyment of the ultra rich and corporate investors. Landowners vs tenants. We have returned to a feudal system where the masses have no true sense of home and are advised to live with all conditions and eat cake! After decades of homeownership, I became a renter again after divorce. It was a nightmare experience. Gibson is completely out of touch with the implications of his greed.

We currently have a system where only the very rich can buy a home in SLO. How many homes are for sale under a half million dollars? Or even under 10 times median income? Pretty much zero.

I want people to own homes again, that means building more, and increasing density. No skyscrapers, but starter homes, townhouses, and mixed use apartments. The data backs me up, whether you’re a libertarian or a socialist, the way to make housing affordable is to make it abundant. We overly constrain supply, how are we surprised when demand pushes prices through the roof?

Precisely why taxing people out of the homes they currently own is a heartless and terrible idea. So many ideas. So many ripple effects that aren’t thought through. I used to believe some of what you’re saying. I’ve been watching the politicians too long now…