Critics Aim to Downsize California’s Prop 13 in Property Tax Measure Likely to Land on 2020 Ballot

Howard Jarvis, the iconic sponsor of Proposition 13, on election day in June 1978.(Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Howard Jarvis, the iconic sponsor of Proposition 13, on election day in June 1978.(Credit: Los Angeles Times)

No brand in California politics has ever had the staying power of Proposition 13, the 1978 tax cut that served as a primal scream from angry voters and became a symbol of their reluctance to pay more money for more government services.

But four decades later, it is critics of the landmark ballot measure who are angry. Their demand to downsize Proposition 13 by excluding most commercial property from the law’s strict tax limits is all but certain to win a spot on the November 2020 ballot, an epic campaign clash that could alter California’s political landscape for years to come.

“The electorate has changed a lot in the last 40 years,” said Mark Baldassare, president of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. “But the broad perception of Proposition 13 has not changed that much in our polling.”

Though Proposition 13 generally remains popular — 65% of likely voters in a PPIC survey last year said the law has been mostly a good thing for the state — polls have also suggested voters are willing to rethink the tax rules for businesses. They are likely to get that chance with the ballot measure submitted to state officials for formal review on Tuesday.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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