Six bills would make it easier to pass tax increases

MAY 17, 2013

By Katy Grimes

tax-the-rich-300x218

SACRAMENTO — The Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday passed six constitutional amendments to make it easier for local voters to pass various tax increases on property owners.

“California didn’t knowingly vote for centralized power,” said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, speaking about the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, as she opened the committee hearing on the bills. Wolk, the committee chairwoman, echoed longtime critics of Prop. 13 that it reduced the ability of local governments to increase taxes, requiring the state government to step in and fund programs.

She said Prop. 13 has been around for more than 30 years, but it was time to change the law which has held property taxes in check since 1978. “Voters today ought to have a say,” she said.

Prop. 13 limited property taxes to 1 percent of the property’s assessed value, plus annual increases of up to 2 percent. When a property changes ownership, the new owner pays 1 percent of the newly assessed value.

Despite that, California by no means is a low-property tax state; it’s ranked 14th highest nationally, according to Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Parcel taxes

Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would lower the threshold for school district per-parcel property taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent. “SCA 3 provides parents, teachers and school districts with more local control and much needed flexibility in raising local education funding,” Leno said at the hearing. “The current two-thirds vote requirements for passage of local parcel tax allows a relatively small minority of voters to block a local education funding proposal that may have support of more than a majority of voters.”

All of the support for Leno’s bill came from other government agencies, associations, schools or public employee unions.

However, Leno did not address the influx of $7 billion in new tax revenue from Proposition 30, passed by voters in November, and sold as the fix-all to dwindling state education funds. Prop. 30 increased the income tax on individuals with income of $250,000 or more, and upped the sales tax on everybody in the state.

“We live in a state with the highest marginal tax rate, the highest sales tax, and we are not a low property tax state,” HJTA’s President Jon Coupal told the committee. 

Coupal said SCA 3 is a direct assault on Prop. 13 because it makes it easier to increase property taxes above Prop. 13’s cap of 1 percent.

In a recent poll by the HJTA, more than 53 percent of voters oppose the parcel property tax vote change, and only 35 percent support it. Approximately 11 percent were undecided.

“Moreover, a majority of those against don’t just oppose the change — they oppose it strongly. The intensity of opposition to lowering the voting threshold was nearly double what it was for those in support,” the HJTA reported. “Forty percent of voters ‘definitely’ oppose the idea of lowering the vote requirement, while just 21 percent say they would definitely support the change.”

The HJTA also found that opposition to changing the voting threshold was broad-based: 68 percent of Republicans oppose it, along with nearly 53 percent of Decline-to-State voters, while 44 percent of Democrats also oppose it. Fifty percent of Democrat women also oppose the change.

“This poll mirrors what we’ve been hearing from our members who are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They oppose any further money grab from politicians — whether from Sacramento or the local level — and they oppose it strongly,” said Coupal. “Prop. 13 was established to protect homeowners from outrageous property tax increases, and that includes parcel taxes, which local politicians now want to expand to pay for their local spending.”

“The tax-and-spend lobby has been emboldened by the passage of Prop. 30 and it’s clear that the $50 billion tax hike didn’t sate their thirst for more money,” said Coupal.

In the survey, the question was posed to voters: “Proposition 13 limits California property taxes to one percent of the taxable value of property. Parcel taxes are property taxes above the regular one percent tax and, under Proposition 13, these parcel taxes require a two-thirds vote of local voters to be passed into law. Do you support or oppose lowering the vote requirement for local parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent?”

Taxes, taxes, taxes

In addition to Leno’s SCA 3, HJTA lists the following bills as major threats to property owners. As with SCA 3, the bills were passed by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee Wednesday:

* SCA 4, Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada, and SCA 8, Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro: “Lowers the threshold for the imposition, extension or increase of local transportation special taxes from the Proposition 13-mandated two-thirds vote to 55%. Most transportation special tax increases consist of very regressive sales tax hikes. These add to the burden of California taxpayers who already pay the highest state sales tax in the nation.”

* SCA 7, Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis: “Lowers the threshold from two-thirds to 55% in order to approve a bond to fund public library facilities. Lowering the threshold for school facilities to 55% has already resulted in billions of dollars of additional property tax payments that otherwise would not have been approved by voters.”

* Senate Constitutional Amendment 9, Sen. Ellen Corbett, D—San Leandro: Lowers the threshold from two-thirds to 55% to increase special taxes to fund community and economic development projects.

* SCA 11, Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley: “Lowers the threshold to 55% to allow for voters representing ANY local government entity to approve a special tax for ANY purpose. This is far and away the broadest application, and thus the most egregious, of these constitutional amendments.”

23 comments

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  1. stolson
    stolson 17 May, 2013, 11:11

    re–All of the support for Leno’s bill came from other government agencies, associations, schools or public employee unions.

    However, Leno did not address the influx of $7 billion in new tax revenue from Proposition 30, passed by voters in November, and sold as the fix-all to dwindling state education funds. Prop. 30 increased the income tax on individuals with income of $250,000 or more, and upped the sales tax on everybody in the state.

    “We live in a state with the highest marginal tax rate, the highest sales tax, and we are not a low property tax state,” HJTA’s President Jon Coupal told the committee.

    Coupal said SCA 3 is a direct assault on Prop. 13 because it makes it easier to increase property taxes above Prop. 13′s cap of 1 percent.

    In a recent poll by the HJTA, more than 53 percent of voters oppose the parcel property tax vote change, and only 35 percent support it. Approximately 11 percent were undecided.

    Maybe those owning taxed property should be the ones voting on property tax increases for govt agencies. Otherwise, in CA, the deck is stacked. Why these goony and greedy legislators keep raising any type of tax in an overtaxed state boggles the mind. When will the public revolt?

    Reply this comment
  2. ron1941
    ron1941 17 May, 2013, 12:44

    Damm funny prop 30 was supposed to fund education,all we have heard so far is CA has a balanced budget and when you read the news hardly a day goes by without some school district hurting for money.It is long past time for a complete audit of CA then maybe we will find out an honest answer as to where our tax money is being spent.It time to put a stop to all the backroom deals.

    Reply this comment
  3. Queeg
    Queeg 17 May, 2013, 18:31

    Doomers……they are going to clean you out…..yep…..Get ready…..Rizzo is in the building!

    Reply this comment
  4. BobA
    BobA 17 May, 2013, 19:22

    stolson:

    When will the public revolt? When the state government runs out of oyher people’s money.

    California should start paying its debts, employees, etc., with state issued IOUs. The state should also increase its revenue stream by legalizing marijuana, gambling and prostitution and tax it. Revenue is revenue. Who cares where it comes from? The state needs the money.

    Reply this comment
  5. Bob Smith
    Bob Smith 18 May, 2013, 01:07

    I see why Prop 13 is being attacked. Property taxes cannot be avoided by changes in behavior (earn less income, buy less stuff, etc). Your business may have crashed and burned and you can’t eat out all the time like you used to, but your house or apartment is there to be milked regardless of your financial condition.

    Reply this comment
  6. us citizen
    us citizen 18 May, 2013, 10:57

    You got that right Bob

    Reply this comment
  7. Fk2kstds
    Fk2kstds 19 May, 2013, 07:28

    Note that all of these bills were birthed by Democrats. That alone should tell anyone with an IQ of over 12 that these bills are poisonous to California. Membership in the Democrat Party should be made a capital offense, as is any other act of treason.

    Reply this comment
  8. Tax Target
    Tax Target 19 May, 2013, 07:39

    Comrades: Leave the gulag now while you still can. Living here is not worth the cost both financially and emotionally. Sacramentzky won’t be happy until the state is renamed the Socialist Peoples Republic of Kalifornsky! I hear that Comrade Brown is developing his version of the red book…er I mean blue book!

    Reply this comment
  9. BobA
    BobA 19 May, 2013, 10:38

    Fk2kstds:

    To put things in perspective, the democrat party is effectively the neo-communist party. Democrats already perceive any opposition to their agenda as a threat. We can anticipate that if winning 100% of the elections 100% of the time is not enough, then they will resort to other means to silence the opposition once and for all.

    Why? Democrats already have near totalitarian control of California and as history has shown, it’s just a matter of time before they start doing what all totalitarian regimes are given to do when imposing their will on the people.

    Moreover, one has only to look to see it coming. Look at the way people are being inculcated with a visceral hatred and contempt for republicans, conservatives and libertarians. We’ve already seen how that type of hatred reaches its zenith and play out in Nazi Germany, pre-Stalinist Russia, Mao Tse Tung’s China, Cambodia, the middle east and elsewhere in the world.

    That’s where California’s one-party state and to a large extent, America is heading and there are many in this forum cheering it on.

    Reply this comment
  10. Bob
    Bob 19 May, 2013, 22:53

    Don’t you people know, it makes no never mind how high taxes currently are.

    Just remember the DemoNcrats and most people who elect them in this state believe that taxes can NEVER be too high.

    Reply this comment
  11. Bob
    Bob 19 May, 2013, 22:55

    In the little corner of the world I live in the local politicians are already coming up with tax increase measures for the election next year.

    And some don’t even want to wait. They want to call a special election this year.

    No matter how high taxes are they are never high enough.

    Reply this comment
  12. Bob
    Bob 19 May, 2013, 22:57

    Where I live I am seeing the middle class and even the poor leaving the state. For example just last week one small business owner moved his business to Idaho and a friend of mine who lives on a fixed income has decided to move to Arkansas because the cost of living is so much lower.

    Reply this comment
  13. Queeg
    Queeg 20 May, 2013, 07:37

    Bob whining is what is wrong. Do something like move!

    Reply this comment
  14. Queeg
    Queeg 20 May, 2013, 07:39

    Ark is a redneck Utopia……what a hoot!

    Reply this comment
  15. Hondo
    Hondo 20 May, 2013, 10:11

    Frances top tax rate is over %100 now. The only way for our society to pay for the promises Obama and the dems have made is for the govt to take %100 of income from anyone making more than $60,000 a year. That’s communism. See the old soviet union or North Korea or the old Albania for the results.
    Hondo…..

    Reply this comment
  16. stolson
    stolson 20 May, 2013, 14:34

    Nobamacare will really bring the chickens home to roost in CA. I believe union employees and union retirees will also start to bear some of the cost for the illegals to be taken care of(free). Many younger people will not buy into it and that will throw a wrench into it also. MONEY WILL BE NEEDED.
    New ways to raise taxes– the Dem way to handle crisis.

    Reply this comment
  17. Ted
    Ted 20 May, 2013, 18:00

    Honda— LOL the French tax rate isn’t “over 100%”—– lol—– “Honda, making up facts since 2011…”

    Reply this comment
  18. Ted
    Ted 20 May, 2013, 18:01

    stolson—- Obamacare will be the death of alllllllllllllll of us!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh Nooooooooooooooo– the sky is falling!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  19. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 20 May, 2013, 20:50

    Just pay…..or Pack and Ship with us!

    Reply this comment
  20. Donkey
    Donkey 20 May, 2013, 23:01

    The immaturity of comments from Teddy and his sock puppets show rational people just how far down the toilet the RAGWUS feeders have taken the state. The whole state is in route to the sewer processing plant! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  21. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 21 May, 2013, 09:08

    Donkey get fitted for your white coat!

    Reply this comment
  22. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 21 May, 2013, 09:34

    Duncey— relax little buddy, things are not so bad. Let a little good news soak into your thick skull every now and again. Mmmmmmm there there, tut tut.

    Reply this comment

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