Opinion

BURKHOLDER: Proposition 19 Will Increase Taxes on Too Many Homeowners

Written by Melanie Burkholder, candidate for State Assembly District 76

Proposition 19 may sound good on the surface, but it does in fact impose a greater tax burden on Californians, and that is why I am opposed to its passage. It has three parts:

  1. $1 billion property tax increase, paid by an additional 40,000-60,000 California families each year
  2. Increases ability for seniors, disabled, disaster victims to transfer their property tax basis, including to more expensive homes
  3. Establishes firefighting fund with few standards, little oversight, and no sunset

Prop 19 would repeal Propositions 58 (passed with 75% voter approval) and 193 (67% voter approval), which allow family transfers of the transferor’s principal residence plus a limited amount of the assessed value of other property—including land attached to the principal residence—without reassessment. These Constitutional Amendments allow California families to keep living in their homes and communities.

According to the Howard Jarvis Tax Association (HJTA), Proposition 19 increases taxes by requiring reassessment of family real estate to the current market value at the time of purchase or transfer. Under California law, transfer can occur at the date of death. The only exception allowed is the family home, and only if a child or grandchild moves into the home as his or her permanent residence and files a Homeowner’s Exemption within one year. Right now, that child or grandchild has three years to file, and does not have to occupy the property. Furthermore, principal residences and underlying land may still be partly reassessed.

California voters deserve to be told the truth about what they are voting on and how it will impact them. The California ballot and Voter Information Guide Analysis doesn’t mention all requirements for qualification for the exclusion or that reassessment will be retroactive to the date of purchase, transfer or death. Many families could be subject to massive new annual tax bills even when family members live in the home.

While I support the ability of seniors, wildfire victims, and others to have some increased ability to transfer their property tax basis, Proposition 19 costs Californians too much. Our San Diego County Assessor, Ernest Dronenberg, has made it clear that our property tax rules are working and do not need to be changed because property tax income continues to increase already. As stated by the HJTA, “The value of the tax break must be weighed against the loss of the exclusion from reassessment for parent-child transfers that is in the State Constitution.”

My opponent has endorsed Proposition 19, never mentioning the tax hike and new requirements to her constituents. Some of my supporters contacted her office wanting to express their concerns, and of course, their calls were not returned as she continues to avoid calls for debate.

A few tax breaks in exchange for massive tax increases on others is not fair, and this is why I am not in favor of Prop 19.

For more information about Melanie Burkholder’s campaign, visit MelanieForAssembly.com.