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Prop 13: The elephant is finally in the room

Original post made on Feb 15, 2012

Calling California's tax system "broken," the head of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation called this week for a re-examination of Proposition 13 and other policies governing revenue that support public services in the state.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 10, 2012, 11:59 AM

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Posted by DC McGlynn
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

About time this unfair, unjust and messed up Prop 13 was repealed.

Its a crying shame that the buiding that houses Trader Joes's in Menlo Park is owned by a Cape Cod, MA resident who pays pennies on the dollar in property tax (compared to the true market value of the building. ) They reap the reward of Menlo Park property ownership (skyhigh rent I am sure..) and give little back.. This must change .. for the good of our town, schools and my sanity as a (very high domestic property tax payer)..

DC McGlynn

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Posted by CSM
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

Best post on the thread over at PAOnline:

Time to eliminate the transfer loopholes for large commercial properties allowed by a flaw in Prop 13.

Do not attempt to modify the residential component - politically not feasible.

The commercial loopholes have changed the entire structure of who pays property taxes in California. Prior to Prop 13, commercial payed 60% of the taxes and residential paid 40%.

It has reversed - now residential pays 60%, commercial pays 40%.

Where's the fairness?

"It's an open secret in California that the biggest properties are bought and sold under a loophole in the Proposition 13 that prevents city's from reassessing them. It's a fairly easy scam, one that almost never happens with lower-priced residential property: Instead of selling, say, a large commercial office building, the owners simply incorporate the building as a limited liability corporation and then sell shares in the LLC. That doesn't count as a property transfer under Proposition 13, so the building is never reassessed.

That means a building that may have sold for $500 million still pays taxes on an earlier assessment, which is often far, far lower.

The California Tax Reform Association, in a May, 2010 report, notes that many of the biggest mergers, acquisitions, and property sales in the state over the past 30 years have taken place with legal tricks that keep property taxes artificially low."

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