By Jon Coupal | Under California law, proposed initiatives must be presented to the California Legislature in an “informational hearing” open to the public. Legislators do not vote on the proposals because these are initiatives that have already qualified for the ballot. The hearings are mostly for the benefit of policy leaders and the public.
Because the infamous “split roll” initiative has now qualified, the Legislature held a hearing in the California Legislature on Thursday. I was pleased to be one of the individuals invited to testify and explain our opposition to the measure, which would remove Proposition 13’s protection from most commercial and industrial properties, sharply raising taxes.
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is California’s largest taxpayer advocacy organization with over 200,000 members. We are strongly opposed to this initiative. First, taxpayers are also consumers, and we know that taxes on businesses have an insidious way of trickling down to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services. California’s cost of living is already way above the national average, and we don’t need to add to that burden for residents who are already struggling to pay the bills.
Even if we resolve the health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, higher taxes are the last thing California needs. The state already has the highest income tax rate, highest state sales tax, and highest fuel tax. And when cost of living is taken into account, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. More importantly, California is not even a low property tax state even with Proposition 13. According to the Tax Foundation, California ranks 17th out of 50 states in per capita property tax collections.
Taxpayers are also worried because the proponents of this initiative have openly admitted that raising property taxes on businesses is just the first step in the complete dismantling of Prop. 13.
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