Lessons from Chicago on the Value of Prop 13

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

In Chicago, escalating property taxes are headline news.  With the average property tax bill due to go up by 13 percent – and more increases in subsequent years virtually guaranteed – home ownership in the Windy City is in deep peril. No one seems happy except the moving companies. This drastic tax increase is the […]

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Budget Deception: Weird Accounting Diminishes Accountability

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

This week, after reaching agreement with Governor Brown, the California Legislature will pass the state budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year. In so doing, it will meet its Constitutional deadline of June 15th. A few weeks ago, this column attempted to provide some clarity to ordinary citizen taxpayers on basic state budget issues. This included […]

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Response to Will Kempton on Transportation Taxes

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

  Last week’s column presented the case for strong opposition to any new transportation taxes in California. But on Thursday, the Executive Director of Transportation California, Will Kempton, published a response in Fox and Hounds, which repeated the need for higher taxes. Will Kempton is a respected transportation expert who agrees with the central premise of […]

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Profligate Waste Negates Justification for Transportation Tax Hike

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

A personal digression: My father was head of the Iowa Department of Transportation (then called the Iowa Highway Commission) in the late ’60s and early ’70s before he was appointed by President Ford to serve as Deputy Federal Highway Administrator. (Of course, he lost that job when Jimmy Carter became president, but he continued to […]

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Will Average Californians Get Help from Sacramento?

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

So much of what comes out of the Capitol hurts average Californians. Efforts to impose new taxes, onerous regulations or laws that dictate lifestyle choices like how much soda one drinks, have citizens ducking for cover. But every now and then, bills are introduced that cut against the stereotype by providing genuine benefit to average […]

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Billions in New Bonds Should Not Escape Voter Approval

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Former Speaker Willie Brown once said, “In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment.” The strategy, he noted, was to start construction of a project quickly so it would be hard to stop once people learned of the real cost which, in many cases, could be many multiples […]

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Put Price Tags on Ballot Measures

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Would you commit to buy a car, a house or even a jacket without knowing the price? Unless you are a member of the one percent, chances are, you want to know what it will cost you before you make a purchase. But what about ballot measures that can cost every citizen hundreds or even […]

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Attorney General Reins In Shady Bond Practices

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

It’s not often that taxpayers get good news, especially in tax-happy California. Even more surprising is when the good news is an official opinion from the state’s Attorney General, someone not normally associated with friendly treatment to taxpayers. Last November, this column noted that local governments, especially school districts, were prone to engage in questionable […]

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Don’t Blame Proposition 13 for the Housing Crisis

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Notwithstanding California’s leftward drift, Prop 13 remains remarkably popular. Indeed, polling suggests that if Prop 13 were on the ballot today, it would pass by about the same two-thirds margin that it did in 1978. But the enduring embrace of this landmark measure by California homeowners is a huge irritant to those who want ever more […]

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New Taxes Are Not Necessary

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

There is an old expression, “carrying coals to Newcastle,” to describe a useless activity or fool’s errand. Sort of like shipping pineapples to Hawaii or, bringing it closer to home, sending more tax dollars to Sacramento. The truth is, Sacramento is awash in cash. The Legislature’s budget analyst estimates that this fiscal year will end […]

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