A measure now promoted for “education and local government funding” has qualified for the November 2020 ballot. This measure would revise Proposition 13 and require that commercial and industrial properties be assessed at full market value and reassessed at least once every three years.

That’s a big change from the voter initiative of Proposition 13, allowing them to be reassessed only upon a change of ownership.

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Changing the current system could produce as much as an additional $12 billion in tax revenues. Los Angeles County would be the big winner. L.A.’s take would be outstripped on a per capita basis by San Francisco, Napa, Santa Clara and Inyo, thanks to the high commercial property values and relatively small populations in these counties.

This change should be viewed as a tax-and-spend attack on Proposition 13 which voters passed in 1978 and became part of the California constitution. In addition to limiting the tax rate on existing properties Proposition 13 set a limit on annual tax increases on all properties of 2% per year and has saved taxpayers billions of dollars in taxes annually.

Implementing a split tax roll for commercial and industrial properties should be viewed as only a first step of tax-and-spenders to defeat Proposition 13. Leading the way, the Los Angeles Unified School District has advocated repeal of Proposition 13 in order to provide more funding for schools. School facility funding is provided by the state, so this can not and will not directly provide additional school funding.

A simple understanding of economic principles is all that is required to realize commercial and industrial properties are owned by entities that have planned to make a profit on their investments. Businesses can not print their own currencies. Therefore, they will have no alternative other than to increase costs of the services and products that they provide.

Increasing the property taxes on commercial and industrial properties can only result in transferring these added business taxes to all of the consumer residents of the state who purchase their products or services.

Vote “no” on the “Split Role” measure, which would indirectly increase your taxes.

Jack Gray, Director

Napa County Taxpayers Association

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