California's 40-year-old ban on property tax raises has made the rich a lot richer


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“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the wealthy discover they can exert policy influence to protect their interests at the expense of the national prosperity and the common good.”

– A Founding Father with a Name you Recognize


One reason that Prop 13 backers were able to convince voters to pass this measure in 1978 is that most working families were able to own property back then, so they could see how such a law might benefit them.

Nowadays it’s harder and harder for working-class people to buy even a modest home in California. I wonder if the tides have turned far enough to get the voters to take another look at what they hath wrought.


Yes, well that was the point.

Now, one of the few ways around this would be to abandon property taxation in favour of taxing income and wealth.


Hopefully the voters here are smarter than that. The powers-that-be would instantly solve all the state’s money woes by taxing homeowners out of existence. Fortunately the barriers to removing Prop 13 are very high.


Property taxes aren’t the main barrier to home ownership in California. Inflated property values are. Only those who are already well-off can get in on the game at all.


True. Perhaps we should solve that problem?


Agreed, but that would require tackling income inequality and the powerful influence of the Real Estate industry. We’ve had some good illustrations this week on just how rigged the system is in favor of people who own huge amounts of property.


I think you have more chance of that than of getting the required 2/3 of the voters to agree to repeal Prop 13.

People forget why we passed Prop 13 in the first place.


Because voters didn’t foresee a scenario in which rich people could buy up large amounts of property and watch its market value grow at a rate far exceeding that of its taxable value?

The fear of middle-class people getting taxed out of their homes was not wholly unreasonable. But the solution created more class inequality, not less.


Howard Jarvis also managed to convince renters that Prop. 13 was in their best interest too, on the basis that landlords would pass the property tax savings on to their tenants.

Guess what happened.


i need to find a job in another state and move. CA is headed in the wrong direction more and more.


OK, I am officially confused by your avatar.


Texas cowboy?


That’s what I’d assumed, but apparently a Californian?



born TX, lived there ~ 30+ years, moved to CA in 2000.

Still love me some Austin, but? spendy, crowded, and difficult to find company wanting a middle aged expensive leader/manager.

CA is beautiful weather, scenery, roads, and Lane Sharing…

but ? taxes, cost of living, etc? time to move… where??? hmmm Oh yeah, Where I can find the employment.


No, that was happening already, and the state was disproportionally taxing homeowners, while allowing cities and towns to make sweetheart deals with businesses to pay no taxes.

For values of “not wholly unreasonable” that include “completely reasonable and actually happening.”

I get it. Everybody hates us rich people. I agree there could be better ways to handle property taxes. Please propose one that would both work, and has the slightest possibility of being accepted by the voters. So far, there haven’t been any, and better minds than yours and mine have put a lot of thought into it.

One of the things I love about this state is that anybody who can meet relatively easy criteria can get anything on the ballot. Come up with an equitable solution for everybody and it’s got a good chance of passing.


I believe that your user icon suggests a destination and possible solution! :smile:


Maybe they wouldn’t if rich people paid their fair share of taxes?

In theory that makes for a more democratic system. In reality this makes it even easier for rich people and other moneyed interests to get their proposals on the ballot because they can just hire a bunch of people to gather signatures, then spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising to shape the media narrative.