Proposition 13 was a law designed chiefly to protect property taxpayers. It put limits on how high and how fast property taxes could climb and required a vote of the people on new local taxes. After Proposition 13’s success, bureaucrats looked for ways to raise revenues while avoiding Proposition 13’s restrictions. They hit upon assessment districts, which had been historically used to fund capital improvements that directly benefited property. Over time, bureaucrats molded assessments into property taxes that avoided Proposition 13’s restrictions.
Following the failure in the state legislature of 7 HJTA-sponsored bills over a 9-year period, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association qualified Proposition 218 for the November 1996 ballot. It gave the people the right to vote on all local taxes, and required taxpayer approval of assessments and property related fees.
The following articles provide background on Proposition 218: