Calif. Farm Bureau rolls out opposition to split roll ballot initiative

A proposal to roll back California’s Proposition 13 for commercial properties saw a new opponent emerge on Thursday: farmers.

A proposal to roll back Proposition 13 for commercial properties saw a new opponent emerge on Thursday: farmers.

The California Farm Bureau Federation announced Thursday it would


The prospective initiative, which creates a so-called “split roll” on property taxes, is not set to hit the ballot until November.

If approved, the initiative would account for a $12.5 billion tax hike on commercial properties held across the spectrum – from major distribution centers to small businesses.

The initiative would not directly affect the property tax on farms, but would apply to any ag-related improvements made to the property that include some of the basics of farming – from barns to dairies to vineyards and orchards, the California Farm Bureau Federation said.

“It’s unusual for the Farm Bureau to oppose a measure at this early stage,” California Farm Bureau president Jamie Johansson said in a statement Thursday. “But our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California.”

The split roll initiative does not repeal Proposition 13’s cornerstone provision – a cap on property taxes at 1 percent of the assessed value of the property – for any type of property.

However, Proposition 13 locks in a property’s assessed value when ownership changes or under other specific conditions, such as new construction or additions to a property.

Under the split roll initiative, commercial property would be eligible to be reassessed every three years to the current market value.

For family farms that have not changed ownership in multiple generations, a market value reassessment could prove excessively costly.

“At a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and provide healthy, farm-to-fork options for their families, we simply cannot afford the largest property tax increase in California history,” said California Business Roundtable president Rob Lapsley.

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