Crash Course in the California Crash: Prop 13 and the Two-Thirds Majority

You know, it’s my birthday today and I don’t feel like restraining myself, so what if I just let ‘er rip?

Books and articles that focus on the huge problems of California’s government and politics invariably spend a lot of time on good old Proposition 13. I keep trying to come up with a very short phrase to sum up Prop 13 and my latest “slogan” is this: Keep Only the Good of Good Old Prop 13. Here is a two-part definition, the first is more commonly known, even among the youth, who were born after it was passed, and who happen to be on receiving end of its unintended detrimental consequences. That part is “the Good.” The second Part, not so commonly known, is the ugly.

Definition Part I

Proposition 13 was approved by voters in 1978. The voters were sold Prop 13 as a way to solve the problem of seniors losing their homes due to rising property taxes.

Definition Part II – Not So Commonly Known

Proposition 13, in addition to flattening property taxes, “Requires 2/3 vote of Legislature to enact any change in state taxes designed to increase revenues.” (This statement is from the official ballot pamphlet. I point this out because many highly political people do not believe me when I say the 2/3 rule on taxes came in with Prop 13.)

Prop 13 also centralized control of budget and finance, so that cities and localities had less direct control, and Sacramento had more control.

Safeguard?  Governor Brown’s Budget-Busting Role?

These topics will have to be in my next blogs because I’m due at a birthday brunch for me and so I should get going, eh?

Peace and love and all that good stuff,

Laura

About Laura Wells: Solutions
I ran for Controller in California in 2014 on a State Bank and Tax The Rich platform. I am part of the “No Corporate Money” Campaign, in which candidates pledge to take no corporate money and voters declare our intention to vote for no-corporate-money candidates. As a Green Party candidate for Governor of California in 2010, I was arrested outside a gubernatorial debate for “trespassing at a private party.” But we won't stop, and so let's create a "public party" where we debate solutions to California's finances, like implementing a State Bank and taxing the rich -- to reduce the disparity and open up opportunities. Twitter: @LauraWellsCA

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