As explained by the California Voter Guide
, Proposition 19 expands property tax savings for certain homeowners. Those over the age of 55, disabled people, and victims of wildfires or disaster would be allowed to transfer the tax base of their current home over to a replacement residence. Right now, that tax portability is far more limited.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
TAX DISPUTE Opponents of Proposition 19 say the measure will increase property taxes, but proponents say the measure is closing a tax loophole and directing increased revenues toward much-needed fire protection.
However, the proposition would also limit property tax savings on inherited homes. Currently, California law allows those who inherit property to continue paying the taxes that the previous owners paid. If passed, inherited residences would now only be eligible for these property tax savings if the property is used as a primary home or farm by the inheritor.
Proposition 19 is different from Proposition 15
, which, if passed, would tax certain commercial and industrial properties based on their fair market value.
The property tax revenue increase expected if Proposition 19 passes would be used to establish a fire protection services fund, and would also benefit local governments and school districts. That’s why some local elected officials and firefighters support this property tax measure.
On Oct. 14, Santa Barbara County 1st District Supervisor Das Williams, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo, and local firefighters held a press conference to urge support of Proposition 19.
“[Proposition] 19 will create a historic fire fund that cannot be rated,” Williams said. “This will help many communities in the Central Coast by providing firefighters with resources that are desperately needed.”
“More than that,” Murillo added, “Prop. 19 will also generate hundreds of millions of dollars for local governments and school districts.”
Murillo emphasized that the fund for wildfire response and local governments is “generated not by implementing a new tax on Californians.”
But opponents of the proposition disagree. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association wrote in a “No on Proposition 19
” document that the measure “takes away important taxpayer protections that have been enshrined in the State Constitution since 1986.” Howard Jarvis takes issue with the fact that some inherited properties would now be met with increased property taxes, calling this “a massive tax increase on families.”
Murillo argued that this is not a tax increase, but rather, the closure of “an unintended loophole that has cost local governments and schools and California taxpayers billions of dollars over the years.”
Chris Mahon, vice president of the California Professional Firefighters 2nd District representing Santa Barbara County, also spoke in support of the proposition at the press conference.
“The funding generated by Prop. 19 will be extremely beneficial,” Mahon said. “This increased funding is extremely important to us because we’re primarily funded by property taxes, so the opportunities to secure increased funding are limited.” Δ