On the 40th anniversary of Proposition 13 passing, the iconic property tax measure could very well be a leading issue on the 2018 ballot both with a ballot initiative or two and a prime topic in the gubernatorial campaign.

There has been a never-ending campaign to change or even end the tax protections of Proposition 13. Fewer Californians remember the days that prompted voters to overwhelming cast aside opposition from elected officials from both political parties and overwhelmingly pass Proposition 13. As demographics and ideology of California voters have changed over the last four decades, there is a growing sense from Prop 13 opponents that the iconic measure might be vulnerable.

This attitude is not reflected in polling, however, which shows that voters still support the tax protections offered by Proposition 13 by a two to one margin.

That hasn’t stopped those who want to change or do away with Prop 13 from believing that the lack of knowledge and familiarity about the measure may lead to alterations.

Two campaigns have pledged to put Proposition 13 changes on the ballot in 2018. The so-called Make It Fair coalition, which advocates for increased property taxes on commercial property pledged to support an unlikely effort in the legislature, or barring success there, move forward with a ballot measure in 2018.

The Make Poverty History campaign junked its initiative effort last week that would alter Proposition 13 by raising property taxes on all kinds of property, including residential, if the property was valued at $3 million or more. However, in refusing to pursue the initiative this year, the committee stated that it would pursue the goal on the next ballot.

Putting Proposition 13 changes on the ballot will have a major influence on the 2018 governor’s race. It could be a key issue in deciding the expected hotly contested campaign for the state’s highest office.

How the many potential Democratic candidates for governor face a Proposition 13 reform on the ballot could be telling in the campaign. Candidates would have to weigh seeking support from groups that advocate for a property tax increase against the mood of the general public on uprooting Prop 13.

Governor Jerry Brown, who had vast experience with Prop 13 when it was originally on the ballot in 1978, wanted nothing to do with a split roll property tax, in which business property is taxed differently than residential property. He told a realtor group in last October that he opposed a split roll.

However, future potential gubernatorial contestants have not been so cautious. Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa specifically called for a split roll when he spoke before the Sacramento Press Club in a 2011 speech.

Similarly, when he considered a gubernatorial run in 2009, Gavin Newsom called for a conversation about property taxes and commercial property and Prop 13’s two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes.

As the state Controller and now Treasurer, John Chiang, has taken a fairly conservative fiscal approach. He opposed the split roll idea last year but suggested reforms are necessary in defining change of ownership for business property.

Former Controller Steve Westly is considering a gubernatorial campaign that would take a center path in hopes of finding business supporters.

No Republican candidates has stepped forward as of yet, but a difference of opinion about changing Proposition 13 or supporting or opposing a Proposition 13 altering ballot measure could be a crucial dividing line in the race for governor.

Forty years later, Proposition 13 likely will continue to cast a giant shadow over California politics.