Comments on the Counterpunch; Prop 13 Still Favored 2-1

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The Public Policy Institute poll released Wednesday showed the
anti-tax attitude is still strong in this state.  The poll indicates that Gov. Brown’s tax
extension proposal is in for a dogfight. Support for the measure is dropping
with only 46 percent approval, a terrible place to start if you’re seeking a
Yes vote in an election.

While the poll indicates a positive attitude toward local
governments, voters are not about to ease the requirement of a two-thirds vote
to raise certain local taxes. By a 59-percent to 37-percent margin, likely
voters in the PPIC poll say they favor this two -thirds vote provision.

The two-thirds vote requirement for local special taxes was, of
course, part of Proposition 13, the 1978 tax reform initiative.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but according to the poll,
Proposition 13 is supported 2 to 1, the same margin it passed by nearly 33
years ago. That two to one edge has been fairly consistent with the voters over
the years.

The PPIC poll results are telling us that the voters are leery of
taxes and definitely want to keep taxpayer protections in place.

Discussing the Prop 13 poll results brings me to a response to Joe
Mathews’ Fox and Hounds Daily piece
challenging my objections to the
Sacramento Bee article he co-authored with Mark Paul. They discuss California’s
dysfunctional government and Prop 13’s key role, according to the authors,
leading to the dysfunction.

I was content to let readers decide if I was off the mark as
widely as the authors suggested. For example, I think the readers could make a
judgment on the dispute about how much the authors took into account the
Serrano v Priest school decisions on government operation — a decision, which
is important to note considering their thesis, that occurred BEFORE Prop 13
passed.

However, I couldn’t let the concluding sarcasm pass unchallenged.

I am accused of opposing a return to the "good old days"
sarcastically described this way …..

I
mean, who would want to go back to those bad old days of the 1950s and 60s when
California’s economy grew and we built terrific infrastructure and educated
generations of college students cheaply?

Everyone
knows that today is the best of days in California.

To say that my last line about to "good old days" was taken out of
context is to put it mildly.

Read the paragraphs that lead up to my conclusion. The comment
clearly refers to the history of property tax troubles and taxpayer angst over
a number of decades leading up to the tax revolt. Those are the days to which I
refuse to return.

Here is the conclusion of my previous piece. You be the judge.

There was a large property
tax protest in Los Angeles in the late 50’s; the following decade, Ronald
Reagan, in his opening speech announcing he was a candidate for governor said
something must be done about property taxes. Two property tax reduction
measures were qualified for the statewide ballot in 1968 and 1972 sponsored by
the Los Angeles County assessor.

All these signs and nothing
was done about soaring property taxes. Not until Proposition 13 came along.

But Mathews and Paul say
let’s go back to those "good" old days? I don’t think so.

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