What to expect on the Nov. 2020 ballot pertaining to housing in California
By Kurt Real Estate Jul 30, 2020
It wouldn’t be a California election without at least a few wildly contentious ballot measures about housing and property taxes. Here’s what to expect on your 2020 ballot.
Prop. 15: Split Roll
Who put it there: Citizens. Campaign largely funded by the California Teachers Association, SEIU California and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Type: Constitutional amendment
What it would do: Tax some commercial property based on its market value, rather than the price at which it was purchased.
This would raise property taxes on many large businesses across the state. The purpose? To increase funding for schools and local government.
If this measure passes, landowners with more than $3 million in holdings. would have to make tax payments based on the current value of their properties — a tax hike for most — resulting in an estimated $6.5 to $11.5 billion more for cities, counties and school districts.
Prop. 19: Property Tax Breaks and Closing the “Lebowski Loophole”
Who put it there: The Legislature, via a bill by Assembly member Kevin Mullin, but sponsored by the CAR.
Type: Constitutional amendment
What it would do: Allow homeowners who are over 55, disabled or victims of natural disaster to take a portion of their property tax base with them when they sell their home and buy a new one.
It would also limit the ability of new homeowners who inherit properties to keep their parents’ or grandparents’ low property tax payments.
The purpose? Most of the additional cash raised would go into a state fire response fund.
We’ve seen this one before — or half of it, anyway. In 2018, CAR (California Association of Realtors) put a measure on the ballot allowing older or disabled homeowners to keep a portion of their Prop. 13 tax break.
CAR argued that the current property tax rules disincentive longtime homeowners from moving, “trapping” empty-nesters in houses that are too big for them and locking out new families.
Because the measure would cost schools, counties and cities, it was opposed by organized labor and local government groups — It failed by 20 points.
CAR tried again this year, but with an added sweetener. Under the new proposal, anyone who inherits a home from their parents or grandparents would only be allowed to keep the low property taxes if they use the home as their primary residence and only on the first $1 million between the home’s original purchase price and its market value.
There was, however, a last-minute wrinkle. In the final weeks of June, the Realtors sprang a deal: designating that most of the funding generated by the measure would go to fighting wildfires.
That won the support of the influential California Professional Firefighters union. It also means the measure will be funding a public need that might be on many voters’ minds come November.
That bargain was struck after the Realtors had submitted their signatures, so with the help of Assemblyman Mullin, they passed it through the Legislature, pulling their original proposal just before the deadline.
Prop. 21: Rent Control (Again)
Who put it there: Signatures, collected via an effort mostly funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
What it would do: Allow cities to introduce new rent control laws, or expand existing ones.
Despite a 20-percent (56-out-of-58) county defeat in 2018, a statewide rent control measure is back on the ballot.
Polling from that election season suggested that California voters generally liked rent control as a concept, but worried about the specifics of the proposal.
Therefore, this new initiative makes a few tweaks. Under the new one, cities would be allowed to apply new rent control ordinances only to homes that are at least 15 years old. It also exempts single family homes owned by landlords with no more than two properties.
Just like last time, the measure is being pushed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president Michael Weinstein.
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