Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
Could somebody let Democrats in Sacramento know that tax season is over?
April 15 has come and gone, but our elected officials clearly still have taxes on the mind. They want to tax services, sweetened beverages, new tires and opioid distributors. They want to more than double the corporate tax — already one of the highest in the U.S. — and resurrect the estate tax.
Now their sights are squared firmly on Prop. 13, the 1978 property tax measure that ensured more California property owners could afford to remain in their homes. Prop. 13 also established a requirement for a supermajority vote to raise special taxes.
From the start, Prop. 13 was a target for tax-hungry politicians and special interests, but that animosity has only intensified. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) suggested the outright repeal of Prop. 13 in a February budget committee hearing, reported the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Once a third rail in California politics, Prop. 13 faces a major challenge from the “California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, which would split the state’s property tax roll into residential and commercial categories, revoking Prop 13 protections for business properties. Voters will consider that measure in November 2020, unless the Legislature negotiates a deal with the proposition’s proponents that would likely usher in some other tax in exchange for pulling split roll off the ballot.
Even more unnerving: There’s a proposed constitutional amendment, ACA 1, which would change Prop. 13’s supermajority requirement, requiring only a 55 percent voter approval for special taxes.
Group like the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and California Chamber of Commerce are fighting to stop the worst proposals from this tax-loving Legislature. ACA 1 is a particularly important challenge. It needs a two-thirds vote in each house to make it to the 2020 ballot.
If you feel you and your business are taxed enough, visit findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov and let your voice be heard.