Let's free a few of the slaves. We wouldn't want to burden the "good" slaveholders, would we?
This is a NYT story about a woman in California -- an MBA with a child in the Menlo Park public schools -- who wants to half-fix Proposition 13, by changing its provisions only as they affect commercial property, and leaving it in place for residential property. Her goal is to increase the funding of the public schools.
Prop 13, now 30 years old, required the assessor to ignore the market value of all properties when assessing them for tax purposes. The assessment is based on the owner's purchase price (or the 1976 assessment, whichever is newer) plus annual appreciation of no more than 2% per year. It has led to neighboring properties with identical homes carrying vastly different assessments and therefore tax bills. It has led to a tight housing market, to high land prices, to unaffordable housing, to extremes of boom-bust, to foreclosures. And older homeowning Californians love it, and so do their heirs, who stand to inherit property made valuable by it. And their heirs even get to keep that grandfathered valuation and low property tax bill.
And all this woman wants to change is how commercial property is affected.
I'm sure she means well, for her own child and his classmates.
She says, though:
“If every Californian understood the situation, and they decided they didn’t want to do anything about it, that would be fine with me,” Ms. Bestor said. “But nobody seems to know about this.”
I wonder if she'd include in that sentiment the 50% of California residents who DON'T own the homes they live in, and those among the homeowners who recognize the injustice Prop 13 creates. Or are they below the radar level?
“Any time you bring this up people start saying you’re talking about overturning Proposition 13,” Ms. Bestor said. “That’s not what this is about.”
BUT IT SHOULD BE!
Lobby to free a few of the slaves, but be sure you don't harm the interests of any slaveholders in the process!