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The Lockean Project

Better than the alternative

“Better than the alternative,” Carmel Pine Cone – May 6, 2022

It’s rare that I find myself disagreeing with a Pine Cone editorial, but last week’s editorial, “Suffer the Children,” deserves another perspective. Prop. 13 was not “deliberately structured in California to charge the oldest and richest people the lowest taxes.”  It was enacted because so many elderly, unwealthy people were being taxed out of their lifetime homes simply because the value of their property had gone up.

Let’s be real. Does anyone honestly believe that if the California government were once again in charge of determining property taxes that they would care about making it fair to young people or anyone else, for that matter? Instead of giving the young people lower taxes, the state would simply make elderly people pay the same amount that the young people are paying. Then we’d be back to where we started: poor, elderly people losing their homes again.

California is never going to voluntarily lower anyone’s taxes. Prop 13 started a tax revolution at the time voters approved it; it’s a check on government power, and boy do we need that now. If Prop 13, were ever abandoned, both young and old would pay higher taxes and there wouldn’t be a darn thing anyone could do about it.

Is Prop 13 fair to everyone? No, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

Steve Gorman, Pacific Grove