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Romney is Right -- Proposition 13 Needs reform

Original post made by john on Oct 30, 2012

I saw this article today on Bloomberg, and I can't help but agree that measures 30 and 38 don't really address the core problem in California.

Web Link

Proposition 13 was a solution to a real problem, but it has many flaws that can be fixed. Look here:

"The tax reform association notes that under the law, businesses can change hands but avoid paying higher property taxes by keeping property in trusts, partnerships and limited liability corporations to hold the land."

Web Link

Reforming proposition 13 and fixing excessive pension liabilities need to be the among the long term solutions.

P. S. -- I only mention Romney because, as the article points out, Massachusetts capped property taxes in 1980 and has the best K-12 system in the country -- a system which Romney later favored and holds up as a model.

Comments (28)

Posted by Wrong to trick us, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

VERY WRONG of you to interject Romney's name into something he is not a part of. You shouldn't 'borrow' his name to give you a 'grabber' headline. Shame on you.. you should be sued for attributing a name incorrectly.
Prop 13 is not the problem. Public pension retirements are the problem.
NO 30, . Yes 32, . . NO 38, NO Band-Aids that keep us patching up the mess. Fix it with UNION fixes, then taxes would fix themselves Spread the word of truth.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm

To "Wrong",

Propostion 13 is part of the problem (not the whole problem), and needs reform. Pensions are also part of the problem. Taxes won't "fix themselves". You've given no evidence, just made proclamations. Such Grover Norquist style approaches are way out the the mainstream of public opinion in California. What we need is compromise, not confrontation. That is something that Mitt Romney did in MA, and I agreed with him them just as I do now. I see no shame it associating his name with this.

Other than that, I agree with your no on 30, 38, and yes on 32. Might I also add -- No on 37.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Oct 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Prop. 13's strength is in its non-discriminatory and predictive assessment system. The ownership change rule is its weakness as evidenced by the steady increase in the tax burden on residential properties over commercial properties. Level the playing field.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm


John wrote: "Proposition 13 was a solution to a real problem, but it has many flaws that can be fixed. Look here:

"The tax reform association notes that under the law, businesses can change hands but avoid paying higher property taxes by keeping property in trusts, partnerships and limited liability corporations to hold the land."

The only people or organizations that want to repeal any part of prop 13 are unions, specifically PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS. Unfortunately these self-centered groups are so near-sighted they are clueless to the long-term consequences of their own short-sighted vision which is solely focused on more money from taxpayers and corporations. Never mind we already pay some of the highest personal and corporate taxes in the nation, these geniuses ignore the fact that both small and large business organizations are leaving the GOLDEN State for GREENER PASTURES. HOW MANY MORE DIS-INCENTIVES do we need to create in order to drive employment to other states? It's already happening!

Why are Democrats so comfortable demonizing the business community that creates both jobs and taxpaying -home buying -car buying members of society. I'm sick & tired of the class warfare argument being prophered by the OBAMA/Biden administration.

Instead of attacking prop 13 why not attack the policies of the current administration that are relying on voter turnout of their favored union representation along with the people that want something for nothing? And neither the democrats/republicans nor the unions own the term "working class families". The truth be told the public employee unions are snookering the true "working class families" into paying more of their hard earned dollars (more taxes) to support the bloated pensions of public employee union members, so they can retire at 50, or 55.

Enough is Enough. I say that while knowing full well that the city of Pleasanton management, in conjunction with the Pleasanton PD (PPOA), has grossly misrepresented (intentionally) the cost savings of the police contract. The truth is the stated cost savings are actually not cost savings at all. The employee costs of the PPOA are actually continuing to rise at an alarming rate and part of that has to do with shenanigans negotiated between city management and the police union under the guise of pension reform and employee concessions - which never happened.


Posted by Judy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

You are so amazingly rude. Who are you to spew your hatred of residents of this community. I am beyond tired of hearing your short sighted opinions being exalted by you as if they were facts. Our schools have suffered over 25 million in cuts, real cuts being felt everyday by those who are still working harder with less and STILL producing results and all you can do is call them self centered? Do you hear yourself?

Your point of view certainly paints quite a picture for the private sector you seem to be speaking for. Disgraceful.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm

"Posted by Judy, Your point of view certainly paints quite a picture for the private sector you seem to be speaking for. Disgraceful"

Yes, Judy, I am speaking for the private sector and the private sector middle class. Whom are you speaking for?


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Arnold said:

"The only people or organizations that want to repeal any part of prop 13 are unions, specifically PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS. "

Arnold, the link I provided was to an editorial by the staff of Bloomberg.com. I don't see how you can call them a "PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNION." (your capitalization).


Posted by Marie Penucci, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

To Arnold:

Hey Bub, I'm a member of the private sector middle class and I can assure you you're not speaking for me. Is it too much to ask a sack of rocks to at least attempt to be truthful?


Posted by Judy, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I am a longtime resident of Pleasanton, a taxpayer, a mother who is sick of characters like you turning this community into US vs THEM mentality. You do not speak for improving our community, you work tirelessly along with many others to continue to divide our community with your negativity. Shameful


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm

John wrote: "Proposition 13 was a solution to a real problem, but it has many flaws that can be fixed. Look here:

"The tax reform association notes that under the law, businesses can change hands but avoid paying higher property taxes by keeping property in trusts, partnerships and limited liability corporations to hold the land."

The only people or organizations that want to repeal any part of prop 13 are unions, specifically PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS. Unfortunately these self-centered groups are so near-sighted they are clueless to the long-term consequences of their own short-sighted vision which is solely focused on more money from taxpayers and corporations. Never mind we already pay some of the highest personal and corporate taxes in the nation, these geniuses ignore the fact that both small and large business organizations are leaving the GOLDEN State for GREENER PASTURES. HOW MANY MORE DIS-INCENTIVES do we need to create in order to drive employment to other states? It's already happening!

Why are Democrats so comfortable demonizing the business community that creates both jobs and taxpaying -home buying -car buying members of society. I'm sick & tired of the class warfare argument being prophered by the OBAMA/Biden administration.


Instead of attacking prop 13 why not attack the policies of the current administration that are relying on voter turnout of their favored union representation along with the people that want something for nothing? And neither the democrats/republicans nor the unions own the term "working class families". The truth be told the public employee unions are snookering the true "working class families" into paying more of their hard earned dollars (more taxes) to support the bloated pensions of public employee union members, so they can retire at 50, or 55.

Enough is Enough. I say that while knowing full well that the city of Pleasanton management, in conjunction with the Pleasanton PD (PPOA), has grossly misrepresented (intentionally) the cost savings of the police contract. The truth is the stated cost savings are actually not cost savings at all. The employee costs of the PPOA are actually continuing to rise at an alarming rate and part of that has to do with shenanigans negotiated between city management and the police union under the guise of pension reform and employee concessions - which never happened.

We can agree to disagree but I stand by my statements that city management and the PPOA mis-led the public, the public employee unions are at the fore-front of the assault on on prop 13 - because they view both homeowner equity/corporate realestate equity as their future revenue stream. And I'll add, based on the police contract, I'm not expecting anything other than a BS FD contract that increases cost 4x the cost savings the city is claiming.

Have a good evening.


Posted by Wrong to trick us, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm

John, how dare you attach Romney's name in a pathetic attempt to give credibility to your pitch.You don't have the spine or issue cred to stand on your own like a man. CONTEMPTABLE ! Romney would not be in favor of sucking away more taxes to payoff union extortionists! !
I hope he puts you in prison for such brazen form of delivering your campaign. You've gone to far. In fact GINA should pull your fiction ! ! ! ! !
NO on 30 taxes, YES on 32 to stop union bosses theft of worker's pay,
NO on 38 taxes.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 8:00 am

"Prop 13 is not the problem. Public pension retirements are the problem. "

I agree that pensions are a huge problem but so is prop 13. My neighbor always complains about her taxes until I reminded her that I pay way more than she does (she pays 700 dollars per year, a laughable amount, not enough to cover the services she uses). She was surprised I knew her tax amount, I told her she could look up any property address' tax at the Alameda tax assessor website.

People who bought their homes in the 60s and 70s need to have those taxes adjusted because paying less than a thousand per year is ridiculous.

We need to reform pensions but we also need to do something about prop 13.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

btw, I agree with the article posted: prop 13 is a problem, but prop 30, 38, etc will NOT fix it.

No on 30, NO on 38, YES on 32


Posted by Lester, a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 31, 2012 at 9:02 am

Remember some of the folks that are under Prop 13 are older and can't afford the higher taxes. Don't penalize us because the system is so messed up. I don't pay less than $1000 per year, and any extreme increase could bankrupt many of the older folks.


Posted by Bill Carman, a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 31, 2012 at 9:55 am

Prop 13 is the single biggest problem the state has. It creates inequity and starves the state treasury. In my neighborhood, the same houses pay taxes at $1800 per year while their neighbor pays $18000. Worse than that, large corporations are scamming the law to their advantage.


Posted by D W, a resident of Livermore
on Oct 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

Prop 13 clearly has both strength and flaws. It takes guts and courage to address its flaws that are clearly adding to the red ink. It can be done if we just try.

I don't care for all of the criticism toward Pleasantonian citizens and public service people. Pleasanton remains by far the most efficient Eastbay suburb, run by decent human beings. Something that cannot be said about the founders of Prop 32. Vote NO on 32! The Koch Brothers are evil people who hide behind our great flag. The Kochs don't give a ---- about any human being that thinks differently than them about anything. A vote for 32 is a vote for oppression no matter what the law says. We want decent people representing us and running our region, not-of-state despots who simply want to pollute, destroy, and take over the laws of our land!


Posted by Posted by Pensions were never the problem, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 10:47 am


The problem is that government employers got a free ride when times were good.

When interest rates were very high, pension funds were invested so well that governments were allowed to reduce or stop paying toward employee's pensions, because of the interest or return on the investments.

UC, who at that time ran LLNL, had professors who volunteered to watch the investments and they out performed the market and the investment counselors.

They did so well that UC did not have to pay or charge the employees for years and was worried that the State of Ca would "borrow" their money.

But when interest rates came down, pension funds just burned away their funds, and did not promptly ask employers to pay, or to pay enough. Eventually that caught up to them, and employers not only have to pay, they now need to make up for some of the prior free ride. CalPERS and the teachers pensions are similar.
Yes, the employers need to pay more. But it is interesting to see news articles that say CalPERS is now getting a 17% rate of return on investments, so perhaps there's hope that can help offset the years of underpayments.

If you ask the employees to pay more, it really just costs more in the long run because that money comes out of their salaries, which the employer pays,and is taxed, too,

Employees did not cause the recession, and cutting the pensions that they are entitled to, based on years of service, will not solve today's problems.


Posted by Wrong to trick us, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:47 am

Oh, Oh, heavy union distortionists like D W and Posted Pension are doing last minutes lies and rewrites !! Beware ! Posted probably has no grasp of the finances, just copying the script given to him....to 'hit the blogs'. He would have done better with less, the more he said, it became obvious,he clueless about reality.
I think most they have been trying to hold their tongues during this debate but,..If now their start with their usual thug lies and threats, we will recoil further.
Shame on you for wanted to use worker's pay without a worker's permission...you'll still get most of them with your MO of threats and intimidation.
Your argument that public employeRs (us) didn't PAY as much as they as they should have, is probably NOT going to WIN us taxpayers over !! duh! Our question is why isn't your own retirement important enough to you, to chip in to your own retirement ?????
I'm 70, livuing in my rubber stamp townshouse for 30 years, no pension, yet I pay $3,000. year prop tax ! THAT'S ENOUGH!
Stop the greed , and stop buying politicans willing to screw the golden goose. Yes on 32. Have the decency to allow worker's give permission/authorize abuse of their paychecks. It should be the decision of the worker who earned the check.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:50 am

"Employees did not cause the recession"

But private sector employees are not responsible for the losses of the people in charge of pensions.

No one bailed out private sector workers when their 401Ks went down so why should we have to bailout the public sector? Calpers invested wrong, but that is not our problem. Public employees cannot demand a pension from funds that do not exist and cannot expect the taxpayer to give more money so their pensions can remain intact.

NO on 30, NO on 38


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:59 am

"Remember some of the folks that are under Prop 13 are older and can't afford the higher taxes. Don't penalize us because the system is so messed up. I don't pay less than $1000 per year, and any extreme increase could bankrupt many of the older folks."

Other states increase property taxes each year, as they evaluate the current value of the property.


Posted by Wrong to trick us, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Well then, MOVE to another higher property tax state ! ! t


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Prop 13 is blatantly unfair.Our schools are going to hell because they have no money.It is time for people to wake up and figure out that if people do not quit being so selfish there will be dire consequenses for our state and our country.
Besides more tax revenue, the unions and people currently ripping off the general population with ridiculous pensions,need to have their pensions adjusted.If everyone would sacrifice a little the problems could be fixed,but too many have the I got mine screw everybody else mentality.
Tell me how it is fair for prop 13 benificiaries to pay 10 or 20 % of the tax their neighbor does.Tell me how it is fair that someone on a pension is making more money than they did when they actually worked.Tell me how it is fair that the wealthiest people pay a fraction of the tax rates they did 50 years ago but cannot agree to even go back to what the rates were when Clinton was President,a very small increase.
I realize there are a small pct of elderly people with low income that would be hurt by prop 13 being changed,but there can be an intelligent fair way to handle those situations.
Our politics and greed are very sad indeed.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

"Well then, MOVE to another higher property tax state!!"

If all of us paying high taxes moved, those of you who rely on prop 13 and pensions would not have a way to finance those services!

If people cannot afford to live in California, move to a cheaper state, no need to be in a house whose taxes you cannot afford without prop 13.


Posted by Other people's money, a resident of Jensen Tract
on Nov 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Hey folks, you're all welcome to give the state and feds extra money anytime you want. Go ahead, hand it over so they can distribute it in an efficient manner in the places you care about most.

The continuous blaming of Prop 13 is a farce. Everyone's property valuation can increase 2% per year. We all know why the limitation was placed there. It's very easy for state and local government to estimate what property tax will be in coming years. The problem is that they spend far more than they receive in "revenue". Why? Because the big-spenders who you keep re-electing planned their budgets expecting the economy and housing bubble would continue to grow at ridiculously high rates.

For those of you complaining that others on your street aren't paying enough; I suggest you should be paying more because you probably bought your house at a higher price. You should continue to pay a tax rate based on what you paid because you were able to afford it at the time so I'm sure you can still afford to pay it. Come on, put up or shut up! You're fast and easy with other people's money. I'll do the same with yours.


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Typical argument.The gov't is incompetent and will waste the money.I am rich and I am keeping mine.So if somebody bought a house 2 years ago they should be paying 5,6 times the tax because the house costs more?The fact is there are x amount of homes and x amount of revenue is needed and everyone should pay the same prop tax for the same houses.Based on your logic someone who bought a house 30 years ago for 150,000 that now costs 1,000,000 has less money.The truth is usually the other way around because the mortgage is eithrer paid off or tiny and the new homeowner is paying 5000 month or more with mort and taxes.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Property tax assessments have a long history of being used to throw people out of their homes. Prop. 13's objective assessment method protects an owner against such abuse. See, for example, links below.

"Property Tax Discrimination and the Question of Fair Taxation" Web Link

"'Assessing' Discrimination: The Influence of Race in Residential Property Tax Assessments" Web Link


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Here's a very interesting follow-up to that Bloomberg article.

Web Link

I was not aware that the middle class tax burden in California was somewhat lighter than average and that it was way less than politically comparable blue states.


Posted by hoops, a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

We are the our own enemy.If the wealthy would pay a little more and pensioners who are unjustly raking in ridiculous amounts would agree to a reasonable cut,prop 13 was fixed and future pensions were adjusted to the new reality everything would be fixed but of course that will never happen.
Sometimes I think we would be better off with a dictator who would come in and get it done instead of all the political b.s and individual greed.
It is so amazing how the solutions to so many problems are so obvious and easy if we could only just agree to make some logical sacrifices.


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