The Unintended Consequences of Prop 13 (Video)

FORUM REPORT: Are homeowners paying too large a share of property taxes in California?

(Note: California voices discuss still controversial Prop 13. See the forum for yourself (video). Michael Cohen provides this introduction and report.)

In LA County the share paid by homeowners went from 53% before Prop. 13 to 69% of all property taxes collected. In Contra Costa Country, by example, the numbers are from 48% to 73%, quotes Harvey Englander (political consultant and Councilman Mitch Englander's uncle).

The unintended consequence of the Prop 13 which gave commercial property owners a way to evade reassessment upon "sale" is discussed. As is a split role (assessing commercial property at market value while keeping the current exemptions for residential property) and its impact - they conclude that the revenue would be very beneficial – (e.g.) fixing our infrastructure - and fair to homeowners and commercial owners as it would impact business very lightly while significantly benefiting society as a whole.

Howard Jarvis, the midwife to Prop 13, said that some day it would have to be updated.  Is that time near or are Californian voters so skeptical of politicians doing the Prop 13 update right that even logical and beneficial changes would be rejected out of hand?

So take a trip back to the '70s before Proposition 13 was on the books and homeowners lived in  fear of being priced out of their houses with Harvey Englander, who has been at the center of California’s political and business life for more than 40 years and  a partner at Englander, Knave & Allen;  with  Joe Mathews, author of “California Crack Up” and editor, reporter and contributor for numerous publications, who takes us further back  to 1965  and the real father of Prop 13 and with business development expert Roberto Barragan of the Valley Economic Development Center.

California's dysfunctional government and dysfunctional voters get their share of critique. Mathews particularly chastises both. They wrap up with some suggestions for policy changes and Q&A with the audience.

Found the forum, hosted by CORO and held at CSUN, very informative and presented in a spirited, fast paced and enjoyable manner. (Prop 13 Forum video link)

(Michael N. Cohen is on the Board of the Reseda Neighborhood Council and is an occasional contributor to CityWatch.)

Tags: Prop 13, Howard Jarvis, Harvey Englander, Joe Mathews, Roberto Barragan, California, taxes, property taxes

Vol 9 Issue 75
Pub: Sept 20, 2011