What exactly is Proposition 13, and how does it benefit me and my family? Before Proposition 13, property tax prices were astronomical. This was because, essentially, there were no restrictions when it came to increasing the tax rate or property value assessments. In some areas property taxes were “assessed” to be 50 to 100 per cent higher than they actually were. This caused some home-owners tax bills’ to rise beyond a reasonable rate of repayment. The elderly and low income earners were the hardest hit. Older home-owners, who had already paid off their mortgage, were in serious financial trouble because of unaffordable property tax. In addition, low income earners and young families were at risk of homelessness because they were also unable to afford the tax.
However in 1978, a new era emerged with the the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), who gathered more than 1.5 million signatures to start a state-wide initiative (Proposition 13). Today, HJTA has the backing of more than 200,000 taxpayers. HJTA revolutionized property taxation and has not only kept Proposition 13 flourishing for more than 30 years now, but has saved countless Californians billions of dollars. What made Proposition 13 so innovative was the fact that property tax rates were able to become manageable. Under the tax-cut initiative, property tax rate was set at only 1 per cent, and property tax could only increase to no more than 2 per cent a year.
Proposition 13 initiative protects the majority population from exorbitant property tax prices, and has allowed many L.A County residents to afford homes and a reasonable lifestyle. If it wasn’t for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association or Proposition 13 hundreds of Californians would today, most likely, be unable to afford their mortgage, property tax, bills or even food. The pre-1978 property tax assessment system was out-dated. Tax assessors could randomly increase assessed property value and, incidentally increase taxes. This meant that home-owners were essentially at the mercy of such assessors, and thus powerless. If the HJTA had not made such a revolutionary move, California may not be the great state it is today.