One of my standing google alerts took me to an editorial in a northern California newspaper endorsing the call for a 1/8 cent sales tax on all goods sold within the county to support the town's library, which, because of Proposition 13, receives no funding from the county. They have exhausted their ability to do fundraisers, have no acquisition budget, and if the library goes from its current 3 or 4 days a week to none, the existing collection will be divided up and people will have to drive to one of the other 2 libraries in the county.
I tried to post a comment, but they seem only to accept comments through Facebook, and I'm not a FB subscriber. So I'll share my comment here:
Amenities like libraries and good schools and well-maintained streets, among many others, are what make a community a good place to live. They support and increase land values; they don't change the value of the structures that sit on that land.
The sensible way to finance them is through taxes proportionate to land value. Those who own a large, well-located lot pay the most; those who own a small share of a large, well-located lot pay their share of that lot's value; those who own a small, well-located lot, close to the amenities people find desirable, pay in proportion to the value of their location, not to what they paid for their property, be it last year, 5, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Those who own an off-on-the-edge postage stamp pay little or nothing (whether they've put a cottage or castle on that little lot.).
I understand that you're trying to solve a local problem, but the underlying mess created by Prop 13 needs to be corrected.
Taxing sales drives sales out of town. That burdens hardworking people who own and work in the shops that sell taxed goods in your community. (It probably won't hurt the landlords much.) Wage taxes are no better. Building taxes ditto. We shouldn't use them!
In the 1870s, a Tennessee businessman wrote to his governor,
Never tax anythingYour town needs to make it clear to your state that Proposition 13 forces you to do stupid things. Jon Coupal and his fellow Prop 13 supporters are not working to make California better for ordinary people. They have something else in mind.
That would be of value to your State,
That could and would run away, or
That could and would come to you.
There are a thousand hacking at the leaves. Go to the root of the problem and eradicate it. Prop 13 is the root of this one (and many others). It has forced California's towns into dishonest assessments and put a low cap on what is arguably the wisest, most just tax ever proposed (land value taxation).
It was a California newspaperman, Henry George, who saw most clearly and wrote most eloquently on this topic. Look for his 1879 book, "Progress and Poverty," written in San Francisco. You can find a modern abridgment online at http://www.progressandpoverty.org/ and more about him and his ideas at http://henrygeorge.org/ or the URL's below. (For example, the board game Monopoly is based on The Landlord's Game, which someone developed circa 1902 to teach the wisdom of George's ideas. It came with 2 sets of rules, one similar to the game we play today, and another called the "prosperity rules." Dull game, but sustainable society!) Prop 13 is the antithesis of what George's analysis showed was the way to a good life for ordinary people.