Forty years after Californians revolted against rising property taxes to pass Proposition 13, advocates of tax reform believe the timing is finally right to do surgery on it. They’ve filed a draft initiative with the state — the step before starting to collect signatures for the November ballot — proposing a “split roll” system that would increase taxes on commercial and industrial properties to produce more money for schools, counties and local governments, while leaving intact Prop. 13’s tax protections for homeowners and residential properties.
Under the approach, tax rates would remain uniform, but commercial and industrial properties would be reassessed every three years at market value, while residential properties would continue to be reassessed only when they sold. There would be exemptions for small business owners.