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View Diary: Republicans can't cover up policy failure with diversity outreach (109 comments)

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  •  What does it take to repeal a Proposition (5+ / 0-)
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    bear83, karmsy, AllanTBG, mariva, flitedocnm

    such as prop 13?

    •  Another constitutional amendment (8+ / 0-)

      that I don't think the voters are quite yet ready for, despite Jerry Brown's tax proposition passing.

      •  Not even a Split Roll? (2+ / 0-)
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        tofumagoo, mariva

        why should corporations like Disneyland or at some banking locations Chase (through acquisitions)pay 1978 level (with controlled increases)?  That's outrageous.  I know such a proposition will be outspent tooth and nail but if Prop. 30 can pass, I think a split roll can pass.

        •  Not without an amendment. (4+ / 0-)
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          tofumagoo, mariva, linkage, flitedocnm

          The system was designed to keep the politicians from tampering, after the fact, with stuff that the voters approved.

          Which makes sense, if you look at history. Hell, just in the recent past, Californians approved a referendum item that altered primaries in a way that neither party liked. So they tried to get the voters to repeal it (and failed), and they also buried the law outside of the electoral code, in order to facilitate not applying it. It was scandalous. The Legislature (large parts of it, both parties) conspired.

          So the point is that the People's will is not within the purview of legislative "correction." The Legislature COULD have already addressed the issue, and generally didn't.

          But like EVERY system, it has consequences, some of which aren't desirable.

          Prop 13 was sold on legitimate grounds--older folks on fixed retirement incomes were being squeezed out of their homes by rapidly increasing home prices... which drove up their property taxes to the point that they couldn't afford to live in homes they'd paid off.

          But... the folks who fashioned Prop 13 didn't split the roll. I suspect, based on who they are/were, that it was entirely intentional. They sold the angry voters a bill of goods--something they wanted with a Grover Norquistian poison pill or two.  And because so many people were so pissed off -- and the Legislature had just let it fester until this exploded -- Prop 13 was (and may still be) untouchable. And because the Legislature let it become an issue that went to a popular vote, amending the state constitution....

          The authors of 13 protected it with a requirement that any and all tax increase measures require a supermajority approval, whether voters (local measures to fund school districts, for example), or the Legislature. So we've been waiting for the day--now almost here--when a supermajority can actually pass a budget or other such matters without the Republicans lying down across the tracks and insisting that the poor get screwed over, again, in some new and evil way, before a budget can pass. Or that schools get stripped of more funding before the budget can pass.

          "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

          by ogre on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:28:03 PM PST

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          •  Polls don't show support for repealing Prop 13 (1+ / 0-)
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            altering it - yes. But there is no support for the repeal of the entire measure. I don't support repeal either.

            There's a common misperception that Prop 13 passed because of misinformation or the issue of old people losing their homes. In fact property taxes were out of control in the 70s and legislators actively refused to consider other measures. Prop 13 was the hammer which took the issue out of the legislature's hands - they really only have themselves to blame for it. Property tax increases at one point in the 70s were exceeding 40% per year. That is scandalous and totally unsustainable. Something had to give. Thus we have Prop 13.

            "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

            by Shane Hensinger on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:39:03 PM PST

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            •  I lived here then, too. (2+ / 0-)
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              Anne Elk, norm

              I'm intimately aware. My parents owned a home then, and so did my uncle and grandparents. So I heard it all going down, and have watched ever since.

              The misinformation was clever--it was accurate, where it focused. It just ignored what would happen to corporations.

              The answer is largely mandating that corporately owned property MUST be re-valued as if sold to a new, unrelated buyer, no less often than every 5 (let them negotiate to 7) years. Revalued the same way whenever the owning corporation is sold or transferred, as well. Obliterate the whole scam of buying corporations to retain their property tax status on the property they own.

              "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

              by ogre on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:39:00 PM PST

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    •  probably never going to happen (2+ / 0-)
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      Shane Hensinger, mariva

      The 2/3rds thing probably doesn't matter for the foreseeable future now in California and you'll find little support for raising property taxes. Since homes go for so much and change hands fairly often I am not so sure property taxes are always that low. They keep going up with every sale. When the property tax value of a home in San Francisco goes from $75k to $1 million in a single sale the new owners get to pay some hefty taxes. Even being the progressive town it is they probably wouldn't even vote to repeal it.

      •  The problem is this (11+ / 0-)

        Taxes do not go up for every sale when it comes to commercial real estate and corporation get away with charging a lot less for their property.  

        We need split roll taxes where Corporations don't get away with pay so little, it is now the case where most property taxes come from homeowners and because our property taxes are so low the State makes it up in other ways and other taxes and fees.

        "It feels like President Obama still hasn't won. It never ends" - my very astute 9-year old watching MSNBC.

        by Ellinorianne on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:42:45 PM PST

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        •  You're totally right on the issue of corporate (5+ / 0-)

          taxes and Prop 13 - that's something that should be changed.

          Willie Brown wrote about that today in the Chron. I don't agree with a lot ol' Willie has to say but on getting legislative agreement - he's a master. If split roll is going to be introduced it has to be done in the right way because optics is everything.

          "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

          by Shane Hensinger on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:02:05 PM PST

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      •  Prop 13 will be taken down piece by piece (3+ / 0-)
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        fresburger, KJG52, mariva

        Commercial real estate will probably go first, as Ellinorianne argues. Big corporations have found ways to get around having properties reassessed on sale, as Prop 13 requires. Besides, there is the simple economic fairness argument: Why should long time business owners retain a competitive advantage over all new business owners who have to purchase property and thus pay pay grossly higher property taxes than their legacy property owning competitors do?

        Next to go will be the provision for inheritance of low tax rates by the surviving offspring of original property owners.
        Prop 13 was passed by holding up the image of countless old folks being tossed out of their homes because property taxes had gone up with real estate inflation. Tossing granny out evokes sympathy, but seeing her (sometimes wealthy) adult children get to inherit her low tax rates is a harder sell.

        Last to go will be blanket reduced taxes for everyone. As it is now, if Bill Gates buys a mansion and holds onto it, his taxes will be capped just like granny living on Social Security. Means testing for reduced property taxes will be the solution.

        How long will this entire process take? Perhaps a generation or more, but we need to start now with business properties while we have big majorities to work with. Once that battle is won, the rest will follow.

        Eradicate magical thinking

        by Zinman on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:25:43 PM PST

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        •  40% per year property tax increases (0+ / 0-)

          in the 70s are why Prop 13 passed. The combination of increasing property values + increased taxes were a complete nightmare.

          No property owner, including me, is going to vote to return to those days.

          "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

          by Shane Hensinger on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:55:28 PM PST

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          •  The inflationary spiral of the late seventies that (4+ / 0-)

            caused property taxes to inflate with values could have been addressed by inflation indexing and is a red herring anyway since property tax rates in California never approached confiscatory levels. Going back to the California of the 1970's, where good paying jobs were available, the public education system was good, and the environmental, anti-war, and peace and justice movements were strong, is not an option, but looking forward to a time when social justice, education and public infrastructure are improved in California with the easing of the restrictions of the Prop 13 regime is a goal to work for.

            It is the property tax policies that support the ridiculous valuations of housing in California and it would only hurt developers, real estate speculators,and landlords if the property tax were allowed to rise to rates that would sustain a public infrastructure to support the needs of the people of the state of California. It might also lead to more affordable housing and affordable property in general.    

            "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

            by KJG52 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:36:45 PM PST

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            •  Yes, good points all (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Nicely stated. Unfortunately the legislature chose not to deal with the issue, contenting itself with raking in property taxes, which allowed the hammer of Prop 13 to be passed vs. dealing with the issue in a broad-based and fair manner. The CA legislature often will chose not to deal with an issue thus forcing citizens to deal with it with all the attendant repercussions - like redistricting and primary reform - both of which the Dem-controlled legislature opposed.

              And there is a connection between Prop 13 and inflated property values. Unfortunately it's hard to see how you can decouple those without causing massive chaos in the housing market for those who already own property.

              "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

              by Shane Hensinger on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:43:55 PM PST

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            •  Prop-13 also resulted from the "anti-government" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KJG52, Eric Nelson

              sentiment of whites resentful over desegregation. During the sixties, a generation of white Californians "fled to the suburbs" after California enacted job and housing deseg. But school deseg took longer. The court battles were still raging in the mid-seventies.

              Politicians like Ronald Reagan were deft enough to play the the politics of resentment without coming off like a George Wallace Klansman. He didn't attack people of color directly, he made a bogeyman of the government and the court system that "imposed" integration upon everyone else.

              Even though we had a Democratic Governor and legislature by 1977, the Republicans' long effort to sublimate American racism into resentment toward "big government" was ready to harvest in California, thanks to our citizen initiative process.

              Californians were already anxious about inflation and Jimmy Carter's proposed cuts to aerospace spending. Then we had a huge school-busing fight in L.A. County. Some voters bought slop about "taxing granny out of her home", but most just wanted to strike back at a government that was spending THEIR money on THOSE people.

              That sealed the deal for Prop-13.

              Have you noticed?
              Politicians who promise LESS government
              only deliver BAD government.

              by jjohnjj on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:08:09 AM PST

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      •  Corporate immortality & immorality (0+ / 0-)

        Large corporations rarely die, and so the property they own (like Disneyland and Chevron) doesn't change hands. Hence, their property taxes increase much more slowly than those for homeowners.
        I left California just before Prop 13 passed, and do remember how difficult it was for so many folks, especially those who had lived in their homes for 30 years or more. But there just wasn't the public awareness then of how Prop 13 would end up helping corporations more than families, and simultaneously devastate the state budget.

        •  Oh, it's worse than that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Those small corporations that owned a piece of property--they didn't just go under and die, and have their property bought by another corp. The new corporation bought the original, and continues to hold it. The property, under the legal fiction, is STILL owned by the original owner. So the taxes didn't get reset.

          That's gone on in many, many cases. Repeatedly. The faction of property taxes paid by corporations has fallen steadily--and this is why. Even as they make more and more and more money, they pay property taxes on the rate that was bases on what a corporation that effectively ceased to exist decades ago paid. Because they bought the corporation, not the property.

          Prop 13 created, effectively, a split roll; one for people, and one that gets preferential treatment, for corporations.  It just hid that.

          "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

          by ogre on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:30:24 PM PST

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    •  Willie Brown suggested a tiny change (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Wendell, Eric Nelson

      to the definition of the word "transfer" with respect to commercial property. He pointed out that lots of commercial property doesn't legally change hands but the company that owns the property does. That's why homeowners are paying a much greater percentage of the property tax than they were back in 1978.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 10:09:26 PM PST

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