Business · Politics

Valley legislators hit with thousands of petitions to save Calif.’s Prop. 13

A push to maintain California’s landmark property tax law – Proposition 13 – got underway on Tuesday with a splash in the south Valley.

The Fight for Prop. 13, a campaign being waged by the California Business Roundtable and backed by a wide swath of local elected officials and organizations, hand-delivered thousands of petitions to southern San Joaquin Valley legislators.

Prop. 13, approved in 1978, capped property taxes at 1 percent of the cash purchase value of an individual property with increases to property valuations limited to 2 percent annually.

It has often been the subject of ire from California Democrats looking to repeal it in one fashion or another to boost tax revenues.

Currently, a proposal to partially repeal Proposition 13 and enact a split-roll property tax is targeted for the November 2020 ballot.

The split-roll tax proposal would change how business property taxes are calculated by utilizing the market value of the property rather than the limited 2 percent annual valuation increase of the purchase price, as proscribed in Prop. 13. Residential properties would remain calculated as they currently are under Prop. 13.

During a press event Tuesday, leaders from the California Business Roundtable, Business Federation of the Central Valley, and National Federation of Independent Businesses celebrated the first wave to protect the landmark tax law.

“California already faces some of the nation’s highest taxes on gasoline,
income and sales, not to mention heavy-handed regulations. Central Valley businesses can’t afford an even higher tax burden,” BizFed Central Valley executive director Clint Olivier said.

On Tuesday, the campaign delivered 1,704 petitions to State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger), 2,359 petitions to Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield), 1,297 petitions to Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield) and 1,081 petitions to Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield).

“Today’s delivery of constituent petitions in Bakersfield and Kern County highlights our successful effort to organize and galvanize a diverse group of Californians that includes state and local elected officials, social justice organizations, community groups and small business all focused around one thing – protecting Prop. 13 from increasing attacks,” California Business Roundtable president Rob Lapsley said.

Editor’s Note: A prior version of this story mischaracterized the split-roll tax proposal currently being circulated for the November 2020 ballot.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.