Prop. 13 ‘split roll’ looms: Karma for Chamber of Commerce?

Nov. 7, 2012

By Chris Reed

For years, the California Chamber of Commerce has had a squishy aversion to confrontation and a comfort level with Sacramento’s machine politicians that should inflame any small-government conservative. What has this toadying and willingness to fight against constructive state initiatives and stay mum about destructive ballot measures gotten them? Will the Democrats who now control Sacramento like the Kim family controls Pyongyang cut them any breaks?

Hardly. Instead, we’re likely to see a coming bid to end the Proposition 13 protections for commercial property. The new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows the public is ready to make the change, and Sacramento certainly wants the billions in revenue it would produce. Per the PPIC:


Now that Californians have approved the Proposition 30 tax initiative and Democrats have gained a two-thirds majority in the legislature, there is renewed discussion about changing Proposition 13, the 1978 initiative that limits both residential and commercial property taxes. Asked about Proposition 13, Californians remain highly positive about its overall impact. Solid majorities (60% adults, 64% likely voters) say it has been mostly a good thing for the state. Fewer (31% adults, 29% likely voters) say it has been mostly bad. Across political groups, regions, and demographic groups, majorities consider it a good thing for the state. However, Californians’ views are mixed when asked about the effect of Proposition 13’s tax limitations on local government services: 29 percent say the effect has been good, 25 percent say it has been bad, and 36 percent say there has been no effect.

There is support for one change to Proposition 13 — a “split roll” property tax. Majorities (57% adults, 58% likely voters) favor taxing commercial properties — now protected under Proposition 13 — according to their current market value. Most Democrats (66%) and independents (58%) favor the proposal, while Republicans are divided (47% favor, 48% oppose).

If this happens, I think it would be a bad thing for California. But it would sure feel like appropriate karma for the way the chamber and many big businesses have behaved over the years in kissing up to or acting as an extension of the Sacramento establishment.


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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 7 December, 2012, 08:00

    I personally would like to see commercial property owners who have not had a market increase since 1978-like Disneyland- pay more, but the fact is any extra money will be diverted to pensions and other waste and black hole spending and I would rather the businesses NOT get a tax increase until the spending is curtailed.

    Reply this comment
  2. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 7 December, 2012, 08:56

    I would absolutely support raising property taxes sky high on news media corporations, the entertainment industry, rich entertainers and athletes, university presidents, labor bosses, ambulance chasing law firms, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Buffett, The Chamber of Commerce, anyone who has ever owned Birkenstocks, people who watch that Honey Boo Boo show and registered Democrats, Greens, and Peace and Freedom Party socialists.

    As tax policy goes it’s something of a blunt instrument but hey, you can’t say it wouldn’t raise revenue.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 7 December, 2012, 15:32

    Do I hear that commie prop 13 dog whistle?

    Reply this comment
  4. Donkey
    Donkey 7 December, 2012, 17:48

    I would like to see all RAGWUS members get a 30% pay cut and cap all members highest pay at no more than $90,000 a year. Cut all pensions to no more than $50,000 a year, no matter the title held. Do away with the DROP program, perks, spiking, and special rights for our government paid crooks.

    Most of all I would like to no longer pay to the state to keep my property. Lets get rid of the property tax and about 80% of government!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  5. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 December, 2012, 09:26

    I don’t believe that the Chambers have been kissing up to government. The local Chambers have had no problem in accepting funding from thir local government’s while, at the same time, supporting/sponsoring anti-public sector initiatives.

    The only voters who resent Prop. 13 are the recent purchasers of residential property. They hate the homeowners who pay 10 times less property taxes than they–completely overlooking the fact that their own current taxes are several times less than they would be if Prop.13 had never passed.

    Reply this comment
  6. Ian Random
    Ian Random 8 December, 2012, 14:17

    I don’t understand why commercial property owners have to pay education taxes? Is it the Truman Show?

    Reply this comment
  7. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 8 December, 2012, 14:52

    Everybody must pay education taxes. Society benefits from everyone having an education.

    Reply this comment

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