Fixing a tax loophole

The fiasco of the Special Election on May 19 has made it clear that California must make some changes to its budget process. Prop 13, the ballot measure passed in 1978, has been an impediment to sensible budget planning for thirty years, but no legislator has faced up to the challenge of changing it. Now Phil Ting, San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder presents a plan to close at least one large loophole. According to Ting, the people who get most from Prop 13 are large corporations which no longer bear the brunt of property taxes. Commercial property owners paid only 43 percent of property taxes in 2008, while residential property owners paid 57 percent. If the rules were changed so that corporations paid their fair share, California would benefit from increased revenue and a large burden would be removed from many middle-class citizens. The League of Women Voters supports this reform. Let’s hope the legislators have the courage to stand firm against corporate lobbyists and make Prop 13 work the way it was intended to work, protecting homeowners, not businesses.

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