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Prop 13 "Split-Roll" Proposed In California Legislature

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

State Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) discusses her newly-introduced constitutional amendment that would tax commercial properties in California at full market value.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

It’s often called California’s political third-rail: the voter-approved initiative that limits property tax increases. A proposal in the state Legislature would change Proposition 13 – something Democrats and progressive groups have often tried to do.

Now, they’re trying again – with a proposal to tax commercial and industrial properties at full market value but leave residential and agricultural properties alone. State Senator Loni Hancock says commercial property owners aren’t paying their fair share.

“This is blatant,“ Hancock said at a Capitol news conference Wednesday. “This is out there. This is just tax avoidance.”

Business and taxpayer groups oppose the measure, saying commercial properties shouldn’t be held to a different standard from residential properties.

“Prop 13 has worked very well for 37 years,“ says David Kline with the California Taxpayers Association. “We think it should continue as is. And it treats all properties fairly.”

Only the voters can change Prop 13. For them to get the chance, this amendment would need to be placed on the ballot by two-thirds of the Legislature or by voter signatures.

 taxes

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio