Proposition 13 was passed by California’s White, mostly homeowning voters in 1978. Since then, property taxes have been frozen at 1978 levels. It’s been a complete disaster for schools and local governments all over California, but California’s White homeowners are so selfish that the initiative is still popular. One silver lining in the decline of White California is that we can probably finally get rid of this monstrous albatross on the neck of our state.
I was born in California in 1957. I lived here for 21 years before Prop 13 and I’ve lived here for 30 years afterward. The difference is night and day. Local government has been screwed all over the state, worse and worse every year, for 30 years now. The situation is dealt with in truly wealthy areas like Beverly Hills, where I taught school for a while (Beverly Hills High School) by the rich parents simply pouring cash into a fund and giving it to the school.
Tom, a commenter, has it all wrong in this comment:
In part Prop 13 was basically white California saying we don’t want to pay public services (public schooling) for all these poor Mexicans and their big families. This was the late 70s when the amount of Mexicans in CA wasn’t even that high.
Not true, that had nothing to do with it whatsoever. There weren’t even all that many Mexicans in California back then, and there were not that many illegals. We had a very liberal government back then headed up by Jerry Brown, and they raided places for illegals all the time, and no one cared. Everyone supported it, even liberals.
Property taxes only pay for local schools. This is the part the Toms of the world just don’t get. So White people, in gutting their property taxes, just fucked their own kids’ schools, that’s all. I think they also pay for local services. Every White person in California knows that local governments all over California have been wrecked ever since Prop 13. So the dumbshit Whites who voted for that, all they did was ruin public services in the cities where they lived, which were mostly White.
California Whites don’t care. They don’t care that the public services their White areas are shot. Fuck it, they say, ask me if I care. They just don’t want to pay taxes.
What happened was that property values were rising rapidly here in California at the time of Prop 13. The state was still about 72% White at the time, and in 1978 where I lived, almost everyone around me was White or at least part-White. Property taxes kept going up and up with the values and wages and salaries were flat. Homeowners were just getting pounded on their property taxes.
People kept screaming for the state to do something about it, but no one would. The Right wanted extreme solutions, and Jerry Brown would not budge and ease the burden.
Howard Jarvis, author of Prop 13, represented the renters’ association! He was a Goddamn landlord! The landlord lying scum went around telling all their dumbshit tenants that they were going to lower their rents after Prop 13 passed. I personally know a bunch of White tenants who told me that they voted for Prop 13 for that very reason!
Also, business interests were behind Prop 13 in a huge way. Businesses can obviously pay their property taxes; it’s no problem, they do it everywhere. But property taxes on landlord rental properties and businesses have been flat since 1978! The people who really cleaned up in California after Prop 13 were the landlord-scum and the business capitalists. Inequality has been skyrocketing in the state ever since.
I have no problem easing the burden on homeowners, but no way do landlords and business owners get a break.
Landlords are the biggest crybabies on Earth.
Most small landlords here in CA are just out and out slumlords. They’re always crying poverty and raising rents, but they never fix a damned thing, and they make tons of money anyway. I have a lot more respect for apartment complexes owned by corporations, because at least they fix stuff a lot more often than your 2-bit Joe White Suburban Slumlord.
The landlords own most of the county officials in the state, and they’ve always owned the legislature. Landlords have big bucks, so they buy their own power in our capitalist “democracy” here. Renters have no power, so no one listens to them, and they have no power in our capitalist “democracy” in California.
Oh, by the way, I’m not aware of one tenant who got his rent lowered after Prop 13.
There’s one born every minute.