The History of HJTA

Our Mission

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers' rights, including the right to limited taxation, the right to vote on tax increases and the right of economical, equitable and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Today, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has grown with the support of more than a quarter-million taxpayers!

Our beginnings

After years of work by tax revolt leaders Howard and Estelle Jarvis, Proposition 13 was overwhelmingly approved by voters on June 6, 1978. But Howard and Estelle knew that taxpayers' gains would be temporary without a permanent citizens organization to protect Proposition 13 and to continue the movement against higher taxes. To meet this need, they founded the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (originally called the California Tax Reduction Movement).

Although Howard Jarvis passed away in 1986 and his wife Estelle passed away in 2006, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association continues their important work.

And with the constant pressure from government for higher taxes, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's role as the legal and political watchdog over Proposition 13 is more important than ever.

Our accomplishments

Working through the Legislature, courts, and ballot initiatives, the tax-fighting work of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has saved Californians billions of dollars. Estimates are that Proposition 13 has saved California taxpayers over 528 billion dollars. And when you add in all of the other HJTA victories...the average California family of four has saved more than $57,000 as a direct result of the activities of Howard Jarvis and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association!

Estimated tax savings for California
From Proposition 13 alone: $528 billion for California taxpayers
From Proposition 13 and other HJTA victories: over $57,000 for the California family of four

Here are just a few examples of the many successful tax-reduction campaigns led by Howard Jarvis and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association:

1978 Howard Jarvis helped lead the campaign to pass Proposition 13, which has saved Californians an estimated $400 billion and allowed millions of Californians to keep their homes.
1981 Through our national arm, the American Tax Reduction Movement, we delivered more than one million petitions to Washington supporting President Reagan's 25% cut in federal income taxes.
1982 We passed Proposition 7, income tax indexing, which prevents state income taxes from being raised by inflation. Estimated tax savings: $82 billion.
1986 We passed Proposition 62, which strengthened the taxpayers' right to vote on local tax increases.
1986 We supported Proposition 60, which will save senior citizens thousands of dollars when they retire and move.
1990-92 We led the successful legal defense of Proposition 13 against three major court challenges, including the case of Nordlinger v. Hahn, which was heard by the United States Supreme Court.
1993 We waged the campaign against Proposition 170, a ballot measure sponsored by the Legislature, which would have reduced the vote to pass local bonds and raise property taxes from two-thirds to a simple majority. Proposition 170 was voted down with 69% of the vote.
1994 We successfully campaigned against Proposition 180, which would have cost taxpayers $3.5 billion to purchase land for special interests.
1996 We sponsored and passed Proposition 218 — the Right to Vote On Taxes Act — to restore and expand taxpayer protections provided by Proposition 13.
2003 We went to court and successfully blocked an illegal $1.9 billion bond that the state was attempting to issue to cover its expenses. The taxpayers would have been obligated to repay principal and interest.
2004 We led the fight that defeated the powerful public employee union campaign behind Prop. 56 — a direct attack on Proposition 13, which would have made it way too easy to increase taxes.
2006 We led the successful campaign that defeated Prop. 88, which would have imposed a new state tax on all California property owners.


  • Recent lawsuits by HJTA have saved taxpayers nearly $4 billion.
  • HJTA maintains a full-time presence in Sacramento to lobby against bills that are bad for taxpayers and to promote those that improve taxpayer protections.
  • Our Political Action Committee has played an important role in the successful campaigns of those who have pledged to support Proposition 13 and hold the line on taxes.
  • The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation has sponsored presidential debates, conferences on tax policy issues and numerous studies on such subjects as the impact of Proposition 13 on local government, and the benefits to state and local governments from contracting out to the private sector for certain services.