Repeal the Death Tax initiative gets green light to collect signatures

California voters axed certain property tax protections that limited their inheritance a few years ago. Now the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is trying to bring them back.

An initiative to repeal the so-called death tax implemented by Proposition 19 has entered circulation. 

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced this week that the initiative, which is sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, has been cleared to begin collecting signatures. 


The backstory: California voters approved Proposition 19 in 2020 with a slim majority, which allows senior, disabled and natural disaster victims to transfer their existing property tax assessed value to a replacement home. 

  • It also imposed new limits on property tax benefits for inherited family property. Children who inherit a property can only keep the lower property tax base if the property is the principal residence of the parent and the inheritor makes it his or her principal residence within one year. 

The big picture: The “Repeal the Death Tax” initiative would restore provisions from Proposition 58 and Proposition 193 that were axed in Proposition 19. 

  • Proposition 58 created the parent-child exclusion from reassessment when property is transferred between generations. 
  • Proposition 193 extended those same rights to grandparents and grandchildren if the children’s parents were deceased. 
  • Supporters need to collect 874,641 signatures – eight percent of the total votes cast for governor last November. 
  • The signatures must be gathered within 180 days and submitted to county election officials by Feb. 20. 

What they’re saying: “Proposition 19 was sold to voters as protection for wildfire victims and seniors who wanted to move to a new home,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in a statement. “Our initiative does not change those provisions at all. But we believe voters did not intend to enact the biggest property tax increase in California history, one that hits families who have just lost a parent.”

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