Cover Story - March 17, 2010

Prop 13 at a glance

Proposition 13, widely known as the Jarvis-Gann amendment, was passed overwhelming by voters in 1978. It capped the tax rate on property at 1 percent of the property's assessed value. The assessed value can be increased by no more than 2 percent annually.

The original assessment, plus up to 2 percent annually, is kept in place until the property is sold, at which time it is reassessed to determine its value at the current market rate.

Proponents of the ballot measure argued that, with property values in California rapidly rising, the resulting property tax increases were forcing people, particularly those on fixed incomes such as the elderly, out of their homes.

In 1986, voters passed Proposition 58, which allows property to be passed from parent to child, with no reassessment of the property.

Both measures apply to residential and commercial property.


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