Ammiano reviving Prop. 13 reform

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Assemblymember Tom Ammiano is trying to put property-tax reform back on the California agenda. He's introducing a measure that would call for taxing commercial and residential property at different rates -- which would involve a significant change to Prop. 13. It's been tried before, and big business interests have always managed to shoot it down, but as Ammiano puts it, these are different times:

“For over thirty years, Proposition 13 has allowed corporate landowners to benefit from tax loopholes while shifting the real tax burden to individual homeowners and reducing California's tax base. “We cannot continue to cut funding from our schools, our parks and our vital human services without addressing the need for new revenue and an equitable tax system.  Reforming Proposition 13 will not solve all of the state’s budget problems but it’s a crucial step in the right direction.”

 It's not exactly clear at this point what form the legislation will take; it might be a resolution followed by a Constitutional amendment. And I don't think even Ammiano believes that both houses of the Legislature will happily vote to make big commercial property owners pay their fair share of the state's tax burden. But it's worth talking about, worth pushing, worth reminding people that one of the reasons the state is so broke is that the property tax system is frozen in time, a legacy of a very different era in California.For over thirty years, Proposition 13 has allowed corporate landowners to benefit from tax loopholes while shifting the real tax burden to individual homeowners and reducing California's tax base.  We cannot continue to cut funding from our schools, our parks and our vital human services without addressing the need for new revenue and an equitable tax system.  Reforming Proposition 13 will not solve all of the state’s budget problems but it’s a crucial step in the right direction."

 

And a split roll is probably the only way to amend Prop. 13 at this point, since so many homeowners are so happy with it.