Proposition 13 needs to be re-evaluated

February 14, 2012

Proposition 13 needs to be re-evaluated
A direct frontal attack to change Prop. 13 (Editorial, Feb. 10) requiring a two-thirds vote won’t work. There are too many home and commercial property owners benefiting from a very low property tax base. The unfair federal and state “step-up basis” benefiting a surviving spouse versus couples living close needs to be addressed separately from Prop. 13. There are millions of couples over 65 and much later in life who won’t sell because the capital gains tax exemption of $250,000 per person is too low. The lock-in effort slows middle to high-end properties for sale, thereby creating a huge restriction on increasing property taxes both on home sales and commercial property. It would require federal legislation and not the state two-thirds to change Prop. 13.
Research shows that when the exemption increased from $125,000 per-person to $250,000 (1992) sales increased substantially in that bracket.
My recommendation is an end-run around Prop 13 to increase property taxes.
James Hall
Monte Sereno

This just appeared in the Mercury News: