UC Berkeley’s Institute of Government Studies’ (IGS) poll asked voters if Proposition 15, the initiative to raise taxes on commercial property, would be the first step in making “similar” changes in the Proposition 13 property tax restrictions for homes. Voters agreed by a solid 56% to 19% margin with 25% undecided.
While Proposition 15 enjoys a 49% to 42% lead in the same poll, a significant narrowing of its lead from the previous IGS poll, the issue of potential changes for homeowner property taxes can greatly influence the final vote.
More than a generation after passing, Proposition 13 and its property tax protection is still largely supported by the voters, registering a two-to-one advantage in many polls.
The IGS poll indicated that it is not just voters who oppose Proposition 15 that agree that home property tax protections are in jeopardy. Voters who said they will vote yes on Proposition 15 agree by a 47% to 24% margin that similar changes to the way residential properties are taxed will follow if Prop 15 is successful. Even voters undecided about Prop 15 say the tax increase measure is a precursor for more property tax changes to come for homeowners.
The No on Prop 15 campaign has argued all along that Proposition 15 is a Trojan Horse to begin the dismantling of Proposition 13, California’s iconic property tax reform measure. The campaign has listed a number of instances in which proponents of Proposition 15 have expressed their opposition to Prop 13.
Perhaps most significantly is the item dealing with a proposed documentary film that was never completed that made an outright suggestion that the way to “fix” Proposition 13 is to, “Periodically reassess residential properties to bring their valuations up to current market values.” Seed money for the proposed documentary was supplied by SEIU, one of the top three contributors to the Yes on Proposition 15 campaign.
The notion of Proposition 13’s viability has suddenly become an important issue as the fight over Proposition 15 comes to its conclusion.