By Tom Gray, For Investor’s Business Daily
The tax revolt that swept California and the nation starting in the 1970s may have run out of steam, but its landmark law, Proposition 13, is still largely intact.
That could change in the next two years as Democratic state lawmakers with a new two-thirds majority in both houses take aim at Proposition 13 tax restraints in their hunt for money.
Taxpayer advocates are girding for battle. “This year, for us, will be devoted entirely to defending Proposition 13,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association.
Backers of Proposition 13 warn that changes could pinch family finances and hurt businesses, large and small, in a state with joblessness still near 10% and costs higher than many locales.
Passed in 1978 with nearly 65% of the state voting yes, Proposition 13 is a shield and political symbol. It has kept California property taxes moderate and predictable, capping them at 1% of a property’s value when it last sold, plus a 2% annual inflation factor.
Critics long blamed the law for state fiscal woes. But mainstream politicians knew it was popular and didn’t want to touch it.