Reporter: Brian Rooney; Producer: Rebecca Haggerty
Prop 13 was a game changer when it was passed by voters in 1978. Capping property taxes at 1 percent of assessed value, the initiative has protected homeowners, but, say advocates, it has done an even greater job protecting commercial property. Brian Rooney investigates whether legislation intended to help families has instead proven a boon for some businesses which, thanks to Prop 13, are paying property taxes on values far below their market rates.
Originally posted at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0403-lopez-prop13supporters-20110328,0,3745941.column
by Steve Lopez
No, older homeowners don’t have to be put on the street. The most obvious thing to do, an analyst argues, would be to quit giving owners of commercial property the windfall break they’ve gotten under the proposition.Read more...
Our new report documents the county-by-county shift in the property-tax away from commercial property to residential property in part 1, and in part 2 shows how many major properties fail to pay their fair share of property tax. Read the full report (pdf) here. A summary of the examples of corporate mergers and buy-outs which avoided reassessment is available here as well as in the full report.
As California faces a severe fiscal crisis at the state and local level, all aspects of our tax system, including the property tax, must be examined. This report provides an examination of the property tax system as it applies to commercial property, and provides significant new data which comes to two clear and related conclusions:
1. In virtually every county, commercial property is paying a far smaller share of the property tax since Proposition 13 passed in 1978.
2. Commercial property is able to exploit huge loopholes in the law to avoid reassessment upon change in ownership.
Open letter to Warren Buffett, written and researched by Jennifer Bestor of Menlo Park. This document is an excellent example of local research which exposes the irrationality of the commercial property tax system.Read more...