Well, at least he admitted it.

In a press conference yesterday, surrounded by his tax and spend friends, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said he intends his bill to increase property taxes on California’s struggling businesses (AB 2492) as the a first step toward completely destroying Proposition 13. 

Specifically, he reportedly said of the popular tax protection law, "If it takes an incremental approach, so be it … my tendency is to want to nuke it." 

Of course if Assemblyman Ammiano wins his aggressive war on California taxpayers, the state will find itself in a much more devastating situation than we are even in now. His latest salvo in the form of AB 2492 would result in billions in new taxes on Californians – billions he and other politicians can use to fund their insatiable habit of creating huge new programs the state can’t afford. 

By changing the way property is assessed, AB 2492 would place yet another massive burden on California’s struggling businesses, damage our economic recovery, kill jobs, and force employers to lay off workers, close their doors or move their operations and jobs to states that have a reasonable tax structure. It is difficult to fathom that at a time when the state is suffering from a 12.6 percent unemployment rate that our elected officials would be pushing a scheme that will add to the ranks of the unemployed.

Ammiano, flanked by long time Prop. 13 foe Lenny Goldberg and the labor folks behind the effort to annihilate our tax protection laws, continued his dubious claims that under Prop. 13 residential property owners are paying more and that business is using a "loophole"   to avoid property tax reassessments.  But both Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann know this was a silly argument during the campaign for Prop 13 and it is just as silly now as it was in 1978.

In reality, property tax data from the state shows that Proposition 13 has not shifted the property tax burden from business properties to homeowners. Data from the State Board of Equalization shows that the assessed value of business and non-homeowner property subject to Proposition 13 has grown an average of 8.4 percent per year, while homeowner property has grown an average of 8.1 percent. In 2008-09, the assessed value of business and other non-homeowner property was $827 billion higher than that of homes.

And the so-called reassessment "loophole" Ammiano and Co. have tried to conjure up to support their massive tax increase proposal is simply untrue. Prop. 13 is very explicit about this issue – and attempts to avoid Prop. 13 provisions for reassessment are addressed and corrected by county assessors or the courts as needed. Out of thousands of property sales transactions in the 31 years since Prop. 13 was approved by voters, Prop. 13 opponents can only point to a handful of alleged abuses of the law, all of which have been reviewed by county tax assessors.

Under Prop. 13, the system works, tax assessors enforce the law and  bad actors are caught, period.  The handful of cases tax increase proponents cite certainly do not constitute their campaign to obliterate a tax protection law that is just as popular among Californians today as it was over 30 years ago.

The good news is that residential property owners and other ordinary citizens aren’t even close to drinking the KoolAid that Ammiano is serving up.  They understand that businesses are leaving California in droves and, if this bill becomes law, the tax increases that the businesses which stay here are forced to pay will simply be passed on to consumers.

The bottom line is this: AB 2492, and the so-called tax shift "studies" and "loophole" claims made by tax increase proponents are simply another ruse being used to garner support for the war on Proposition 13 and California taxpayers. Californians, who have beat back this assault before, will surely defend Prop. 13 in this latest battle.