The split roll property tax measures appear dead this election cycle.

Since the economic recession and the collapse of tax revenue in California government treasuries, commentators and activists pointed to a split roll property tax as a likely device to raise revenue. Under a split roll, Proposition 13 would be altered to tax business property under a different formula than residential property.

Two split roll initiatives were filed aimed at the November 2010 ballot. One would require reassessment of commercial property to full market value on a regular basis; the second raised the property tax rate on business property.

The chief backer of these initiatives was the California Teachers Association. CTA has floated a number of split roll proposals in recent years. Despite gathering signatures for a split roll tax in 2004 and 2006 the petitions were never filed and the measures never appeared on the ballot.

Business and taxpayer associations had already organized to oppose this year’s proposed initiatives and were preparing for a battle royal.

At the end of last week, CTA issued a release taking positions on proposed ballot initiatives for the November ballot. The split roll was not mentioned. CTA clearly has chosen to concentrate on an initiative proposal that will roll back tax changes for corporations included in last year’s budget. CTA calls the changes “corporate loopholes.” By nullifying the tax benefits, CTA claims California state government will continue to collect $1.7 billion in revenue, about 40-percent of which goes to education.

CTA hired Gale Kaufman to manage the campaign and kicked in over half-a-million dollars to get the campaign started. With the focus of the split roll measure’s prime sponsor on the “Repeal Corporate Loopholes Act,” split roll proposals will not move forward.