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Major Threats to Prop. 13 and Homeowners



Signature gathering is underway to place an initiative measure on the ballot that would impose a massive $6 billion property tax increase on both homeowners and business properties. The initiative, with the innocent sounding title of “Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act,” would impose a surcharge on more valuable properties.

This would reinstate a system where increases in home value would be penalized with much higher taxes as occurred prior to Proposition 13. Taxpayers know from hard experience that, for tax raisers, more is never enough. Once the door has been opened, less valuable property will be the next target. (Ironically, higher property taxes could become another a cause of poverty — before the passage of Proposition 13, escalating taxes were forcing many retirees and those on fixed incomes from their homes.)

Please be alert: HJTA asks taxpayers to be alert and not inadvertently help the tax raisers. Proposition 13 supporters should be extremely cautious when asked to sign a petition to place a measure on the ballot. Signature gatherers are unlikely to volunteer that the “Raising Children” measure will raise taxes, so you should ask before signing on in support of any initiative measure.

Click here to see the complete list of Bills that threaten Proposition 13 and taxpayers.

Bills That Threaten Homeowners and Small Businesses Are Currently Moving Through the Legislature!

The new Legislature is dominated by pro-tax politicians, and bills that undermine the taxpayer protections in Proposition 13 have been introduced and are being heard in committees. If approved, these bills could cost every property owner thousands of dollars annually.

Sign up for our free e-mail updates (below) and HJTA will alert you to these and other developing threats to Proposition 13 and taxpayers.


Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 (ACA 4), Jim Frazier (D—Solano County): 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. Some municipalities in California have sales tax rates at or even over ten percent. Considering that these special taxes remain in place for decades, well after the local elected officials that oppose them term out of office, maintaining the higher two-thirds supermajority threshold is imperative. ACA 4 is presently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and needs a two-thirds vote of all Assembly Members to move to the State Senate.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (ACA 8), Richard Bloom (D—Los Angeles): Lowers the threshold for the local imposition, extension or increase of a special tax to fund water infrastructure projects from the Proposition 13-mandated two-thirds vote to 55%. Under this bill, the definition of a special tax includes both sales and parcel tax increases, both of which are very regressive. California has the highest sales tax in the nation, and parcel taxes add hundreds of dollars of new taxes, every year for decades, to the one percent tax rate property owners already pay under Proposition 13. ACA 8 also lowers the threshold to approve bonds for these local/regional water projects from two-thirds to 55 percent, much as has already been done for school facility construction projects. While all voters are able to vote on this debt, only property owners pay it. Lowering the threshold for school bonds has added hundreds of millions of dollars of new debt on property tax bills since 2000. Considering ACA 8 allows for the construction of wastewater treatment facilities and potable water treatment facilities, the costs to property owners would be extreme.

ACA 8 is currently awaiting being referred to a legislative policy committee for a hearing. While there has been little action on this bill in 2016, that can change at any moment. Just a few years ago, a similar constitutional amendment to ACA 8 was moved directly to the Assembly Floor and voted on in 24 hours, and without a policy hearing. We will monitor the situation carefully if and when this bill begins to move through the legislative process. ACA 8 would require a two-thirds vote of both houses, by June 30th, 2016, in order to make the November ballot.

Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA 5), Loni Hancock (D—Berkeley) and Holly Mitchell (D—Los Angeles): As amended in June 2015, SCA 5 will reassess the property taxes of practically all commercial property, including small business, up to fair market value by 2018. According to a recent study conducted by Pepperdine University, if approved SCA 5 will result in over 400,000 lost jobs in the first five years it is in place. Also, while single family homes, apartments, and farms are exempt from the provisions of SCA 5, we remain concerned that any attempt to diminish Proposition 13 and its one percent property tax cap for business will also eventually arrive at the doorstep of homeowners. Proponents have already made it clear that this is part of their agenda. This Constitutional Amendment is waiting to be heard in the State Senate Government and Finance Committee.

Tell your representatives that you oppose these bills that attack your Proposition 13 protections.

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Check back often to see the latest threats to Proposition 13 and to learn how you can fight back.

MAJOR THREATS to Proposition 13 and homeowners