Prop 5

Prop 5Property Tax Transfer Initiative
-I’m voting NO

In 1978, Proposition 13 made it so a person’s property tax was only based on the original value of their home, and didn’t go up as the home increased in value unless the person sold the house, etc.
In 1986 and 1988, Proposition 13 was amended to allow people 55 or older to transfer their tax assessment if they moved to a new house, as long as the new home was valued less than the old one, and as long as the new county agreed. A person could only use this once in their lifetime.

This initiative, Prop 5, would amend Prop 13 again, allowing people 55 or older or severely disabled, to transfer their tax assessment to any new home, even a more valuable one, and would not require county permission. It would also remove the ‘once in a lifetime’ restriction. The new tax would not be exactly what they were paying before, but would be calculated based on the difference in value between the homes. It would be less than what it would be without this measure. 

Supported by: California Association of Realtors and Senior Advocates. The arguments for say that it will help seniors move who are stuck in inadequate housing (too big, etc.) because they cant afford the increase in property tax that moving would involve.
Opposed by: California Teachers Association, SEIU, Mercury News, SF Chronical, Sacramento Bee. The arguments against are that it will reduce money for schools and counties, and that it’s more important to help younger, first-time homebuyers. Also that the current law allows people to move to smaller homes once, and that covers the most important cases.

The Opposing arguments are swaying me at this point.

One thought on “Prop 5”

  1. Proposition 13 is kind of like rent control for homeowners. When it passed, the main justification was to keep people from losing their home as a result of rising property values. There are pros and cons, but what I have never understood is why proposition 13 also protects investment properties. As we argue about rent control in Santa Cruz to protect renters from losing their homes due to rising rents, landlords benefit not just on the home they live in, but in their investment properties as well. So as rents/profits go up, and costs to the county to support property (e.g. fire, roads, police) go up, their property taxes stay roughly the same. Perhaps an initiative to limit proposition 13 to a single home that you live in would be more reasonable. But, in lieu of that, I suggest that if measure M fails, that we pass a local law saying that landlords can only raise the rents by the percentage that their property taxes increase (e.g. 1%/year) unless they agree to reassess the value of their investment home. This seems fair, and would add a huge income stream that could be used for affordable housing, public safety, etc. (while also keeping some homes cheap where the landlord didn’t want to pay the vastly increased property tax).

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