Jonathan Kraut’s “Indecent Propositions 2020” commentary on July 28 recommended that voters say “yes” to Propositions 18 and 19, but he left out critical information that voters deserve to know.
Proposition 18 would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they will be 18 by the date of the general election. The law already allows 16- and 17-year-olds to “pre-register” to vote. This measure would allow high school students to vote on tax increases, which often are on the ballot in primaries and special elections.
Proposition 19 would repeal Propositions 58 and 193, which allow parents (and sometimes grandparents) to transfer a home of any value and up to $1 million of assessed value of other property to children without reassessment. If Prop. 19 passes, property transferred within families would be reassessed to market value, triggering a major tax increase in most cases. Prop. 19 allows only a limited exception if the new owner moves in and uses the property as his or her principal residence.
California homeowners age 55 and up already have the right to transfer the lower property tax bill on their current home to a replacement property under two measures that passed in the 1980s, Propositions 60 and 90.
Proposition 19 would allow more of these transfers, but the price of that tax break is the loss of the exclusion from reassessment when property is transferred between parents and children. On balance, it’s a billion-dollar tax increase.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has evaluated Proposition 18 and Proposition 19 as bad deals for taxpayers and has signed the ballot arguments against them. We recommend that voters say NO to 18 and 19.
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association