Not many Californians care remember back to 1978 when Prop 13 was passed amid cries of relief from many homeowners. Over the years the Prop 13 limitation on property taxes has affected every aspect of California’s government. Now when people are suffering from a drop in house value and selling houses at bargain levels, the effects of Prop 13 may take a different turn. According to an in-depth report in the Chronicle today, the results will be a long term loss for California’s tax revenues. The assessed value of homes will rise when the economic turns around (as it inevitably will) but people who buy houses at the new lower rates will be spared from large increases in their taxes. This means local communities will have to turn to the state government even more to pay for schools and local services. For years responsible civic groups have been telling us we should reassess the Prop 13 provisions, but legislators shrink from doing anything that will anger voters. Perhaps it’s a time for us to grow up and face the consequences of that long-ago vote. As President Obama has reminded us it is time to put away childish things and face the consequences of our (or our parents) actions.
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