The landmark Proposition 13, passed in California in 1978, may be in for some revision. A whopping 69% of respondents surveyed in a new Field Poll state that they would approve reassessing business properties after they are sold or transferred, which heretofore has only been the province of residential properties.
Prop. 13 set 1975 as the base year for assessing residential and commercial properties. Property-tax increases could only rise 2% per year until they were sold, at which point they would be reassessed and taxes would be estimated at 1 percent of their value.
But commercial properties somehow evaded that restriction; sometimes they were not reassessed. The Field Poll showed bipartisan support for changing that: 71% of Democrats and independents approved the idea, while 64% of GOP voters agreed.
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo told the San Francisco Chronicle that the new idea might be more successful in gaining approval than creating “split rolls,” which tax residential and commercial properties at different rates.
He added that voters would appreciate “dealing with a particular quirk of the law, in which it appears that many business and commercial properties are able to skirt reassessments” plus the benefit of lowering their taxes.
DiCamillo concluded that business properties being forced through reassessment after being sold “would be one way of opening the door. If you’re trying to do that through split roll, that would be more contentious and you would get push-back from Republicans.”