Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association endorses ballot initiative for property-tax portability

A proposed ballot initiative that would expand the portability of property-tax assessments under Proposition 13 has received the backing of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the group that led the successful tax revolt that achieved voter approval of the iconic property-tax limitation measure in 1978.

The initiative sponsored by the California Association of Realtors would allow homeowners 55 and older who purchase a new home to retain the assessed value of the home they sold, even if their new home is in a different county. Under current law, counties are not required to accept the transfers, and only new homes of equal or lesser value qualify for the transferred base value. Under the new initiative, all counties would accept the transfers, and new homes of greater value would be assessed at a rate that is partly based on the assessed value of the buyer’s prior home.

“We believe upward portability makes a lot of sense especially as property values across California continue to rebound,” said HJTA president Jon Coupal. He said the measure would help California alleviate its current housing crisis by removing a financial barrier that keeps many older homeowners from selling their homes, and many millennials from entering the housing market.

The measure would also allow California homeowners to transfer their base value more than once.

The changes would take effect January 1, 2019, if the proposed ballot measure, titled the People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings, secures enough signatures to appear on the November 2018 ballot and is approved by voters.