published on May 11, 2021 - 10:16 AM
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

California voters narrowly passed Proposition 19 last year, which was sold a way to help seniors, disabled people and wildfire victims who wanted to move to a new home.

The real story is that Prop. 19 is yet another assault on the property tax protections brought to us by Prop. 13 and other measures passed through the years in California.

While Prop. 19 does provide tax savings for property owners 55 and over if they sell a home then move into another home, it also repeals two key property tax protections on the books for decades.

I’ll let the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association explain these changes, which actually cuts to the heart of Prop. 19: It’s complicated, which allowed it to act as a wolf in sheep’s clothing on the ballot.

Prop. 19 repealed Prop. 58, a constitutional amendment from 1986 that allowed parents to transfer a home and limited other property to their children without any change to the property tax bill. It also repeals Prop. 193 from 1996, which extended Prop. 58 rules to some transfers between grandparents and grandchildren.

These changes from Prop. 19 took effect on Feb. 16, and continue to confound assessors and the state Board of Equalization itself. That’s why Sen. Partricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) introduced S.B. 668, which would change the implementation date to Feb. 16, 2023. That seems like a common sense approach to address “a number of significant questions unanswered,” as the Board of Equalization characterized Prop. 19.

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