Prop. 13 fight looming over how CA taxes business properties

It has been a liberal dream for decades to undo parts or all of Proposition 13, the seminal California initiative limiting the property tax rate. Is that fight finally coming to the ballot box this fall? A coalition of civil rights and community organizations is collecting signatures for a measure to tax commercial properties at market value while leaving in place the Proposition 13 protections for homeowners, a concept known as “split roll.”

The latest “split roll” proposal would set taxes for commercial and industrial properties, including vacant land, based on their market value. If approved by voters, it would take effect starting in 2020, and would exclude businesses whose California property holdings are worth less $2 million and companies with 50 or fewer full-time employees.

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