Advocates for a split roll property tax probably hailed the results of the Field Poll question about business property changing ownership. Trouble is, the question wasn’t about a split roll property tax in which all business property would be taxed differently from residential property. The question was about certain commercial property transfers of ownership.

Here is the question asked by Field: Because of complexities in the way businesses and commercial properties are sold, they, unlike residential properties, are not always reassessed when ownership is transferred. Do you favor or oppose changing Prop. 13 to insure that when business and commercial properties are sold or transferred, their property taxes are reset and based on their current assessed value?

If business property ownership is transferred it should be reassessed. If an illegal gimmick is used to hide the transfer and avoid new property taxes, property owners should be caught and reassessed.

This question is not about changing Proposition 13 to reassess all business property at current market value. Frankly, the question should not even be about changing Proposition 13, a constitutional amendment, but looking to see if a statutory change would solve any gimmicky problems.

However, those who want to change Prop 13 will take the poll result (69% to 17%), as a sign they are on the road to changing Prop 13. If the full story about a split roll taxing all business properties is told to the voters – and the effect on jobs and the economy that would entail — the poll numbers would be quite different.