Thu, Aug

Prop13 … Holding on to Your Home Depends on It!

VOICE IN THE CHEAP SEATS - In his Los Angeles Times Article “Debunking myth of Prop13”, (link) Steve Lopez asserts that Prop13 only works for homeowners while the value of property is rising.

His theory is that because the housing market is seeing declining home prices and values are not expected to rise in the foreseeable future, Prop13 is only serving to raise property taxes on new home buyers as they subsidize older home owners who pay significantly less.  As a result, he says, new home buyers are forced to seek housing outside the state.

I wonder where lower home prices fit into his “forced out of state” conclusion.

Steve Lopez just does not “get it”.  The new buyer benefits every bit as much as the long time owner.  

Yes … he has to pay higher property taxes than his older neighbor, but then he is working, making money, and has determined that he can afford to buy a house.  Prop13 ensures that when he is retired, not working, and is on fixed income, he will not be taxed out of his home.  

That makes the security provided by Prop13 every bit as valuable to the new home owner as it is to the long time home owner who began his property tax paying career at the current market value when he bought in.  It all comes out in the wash.

We should never forget the time when onerous property taxes were forcing people, mostly elderly, out of their homes.  Prop13 did not just happen.  It was a desperate effort to protect the people from over reaching taxation … and if you think it could not happen again, you are only kidding yourself.

The only way to stop politicians from taking an unfair bite out of the public is to put a muzzle on them.  Prop13 is the necessary muzzle that keeps property taxes at bay.

Of course Prop13 could be improved.  Benefits for Corporations could be eliminated or a time limit placed on their benefits.  But the primary purpose of Prop13 is to protect the people who worked hard and made sacrifices for the American Dream of Home Ownership and we should not compromise that protection.  

Today's seniors are the people who kept our country running yesterday.  To assault them with unfair taxes today betrays their contribution and sets us up for the same fate when we get old.

(Our “Average Joe” is Charles Tarlow,  a mid-city resident and community activist. Tarlow writes Voice in the Cheap Seats for CityWatch. He can be reached at:    [email protected] )

Tags: Prop 13, seniors, property taxes, politicians

Vol 9 Issue 44
Pub: June 3, 2011