Official Arguments (click ▸ to expand)
YES on 19. Tax Savings and Housing Relief for SENIORS, WILDFIRE VICTIMS, and PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. Proposition 19 protects vulnerable Californians, closes unfair tax loopholes, and generates needed revenue for fire protection and emergency medical response. 1) LIMITS PROPERTY TAXES FOR SENIORS, WILDFIRE VICTIMS, AND DISABLED HOMEOWNERS. PROP. 19: • Removes unfair, ever-changing location restrictions in current law so homeowners who are seniors, disabled, or victims of wildfire can transfer their home's Prop. 13 tax savings to a replacement home anywhere in California. • Provides housing relief for millions of seniors, many feeling trapped in homes they can't maintain, with too many stairs, located too far from family or medical care—made worse by coronavirus health risks. • Creates record home ownership opportunities for renters and new homeowners statewide as tens of thousands of homes will become available for the first time in decades. • "After two wildfires destroyed 15,155 homes, victims faced massive tax hikes simply for relocating a few miles away. Prop. 19 removes unfair location restrictions to eliminate sudden tax increases so wildfire victims can move to a replacement home anywhere in California." —Kristy Militello, Tubbs Wildfire Survivor 2) CLOSES UNFAIR TAX LOOPHOLES USED BY EAST COAST INVESTORS, CELEBRITIES, AND WEALTHY TRUST FUND HEIRS ON VACATION HOMES AND RENTALS: • News reports and property records have revealed rules meant to limit taxes on family primary residences are exploited by out-of-state professionals, celebrities, and wealthy heirs to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on vacation homes and rentals. [Los Angeles Times, 8/17/18] • Exploiting loopholes resulted in billions in lost revenue for schools and counties, forcing California homeowners to pay tax bills 10 times higher than rental homes in the same neighborhood owned by heirs, many living as far as Florida or New York. PROP. 19 PROTECTS FAMILY HOMES—and low tax rates—for children inheriting and living in primary residences as intended under law; ELIMINATES TAX LOOPHOLES on homes converted into rentals . . . since rental income would easily cover any bump in property taxes. 3) INCREASES FIRE PROTECTION, EMERGENCY RESPONSE & SCHOOL FUNDING BY: • Establishing Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Response Funding: dedicated revenue for fire districts in rural and urban communities to fix inequities that threaten life-saving response times to wildfires and medical emergencies. • Providing an economic boost for schools and counties struggling to balance budgets due to coronavirus, with long-term revenue for emergency response, affordable housing, homeless programs, healthcare, and other local services. • Generating hundreds of millions in revenue for schools and local governments resulting from senior home sales and closing loopholes on inherited properties not used as a primary residence. 4) DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SUPPORT PROP. 19: "Prop. 19 protects tax savings and benefits for vulnerable Californians, including seniors, disabled homeowners, and wildfire victims."—Jim Brulte, CA Republican Party Former Chair "Vote with state and local Democrats to close unfair loopholes and provide needed housing relief for seniors and working families."—Alexandra Rooker, CA Democratic Party Former Chair PLEASE JOIN FIREFIGHTERS, EMERGENCY RESPONDERS, SENIORS AND DISABILITY RIGHTS GROUPS, CALIFORNIA BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, CALASIAN CHAMBER, HISPANIC CHAMBER, LOCAL DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS. YESon19.vote BRIAN RICE, President California Professional Firefighters KATHLEEN BARAJAS, President Californians for Disability Rights GEORGE MOZINGO, Boardmember California Senior Advocates League
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 19. "Proposition 19 is an attempt by Sacramento politicians to raise property taxes by removing two voter-approved taxpayer protections from the State Constitution. This measure would require reassessment to market value of property transferred from parents to children, and from grandparents to grandchildren."—Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Proposition 19 TAKES AWAY PROPOSITION 13-related protections that California families have under the State Constitution and replaces them with a tax increase. VOTE NO on Proposition 19. Under current law, transfers of certain property between parents and children are excluded from reassessment, meaning the property tax bill stays the same after the property is transferred. The same is true for certain transfers between grandparents and grandchildren. Voters added these overwhelmingly popular provisions to the State Constitution with Proposition 58 in 1986 and Proposition 193 in 1996. Under Prop. 58, parents may transfer a home of any value and up to $1 million of assessed value of other property to their children without an increase in property taxes. IF WE LOSE PROPOSITION 58, children could be forced by higher taxes to sell their family's property, such as a small business that has provided the family with financial security, and their longtime family home if they can't move into it fast enough. PROPOSITION 19 TAKES AWAY PROPOSITION 58, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS APPROVED BY 75.7% OF VOTERS! Proposition 19 was put on the ballot through a last-minute backroom deal in the Legislature, despite opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. Proposition 19 would force the reassessment to market value of property transferred within families unless used as the new owner’s principal residence. PROPOSITION 19 IS A MASSIVE, BILLION-DOLLAR TAX INCREASE ON CALIFORNIA FAMILIES. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office projects that Proposition 19 could eventually cost California families about two billion dollars annually in higher property taxes. THE TRANSFER PROVISIONS IN PROPOSITION 19 WERE ALREADY REJECTED BY VOTERS. Current law (Propositions 60 and 90) allows homeowners age 55 and older to move to a replacement home and transfer their base-year property tax assessment from their previous home to the new property. Current law allows this transfer one time, within the same county or to a county that accepts the transfers, and only if the replacement property is of equal or lesser value. In 2018, voters were presented with Proposition 5, which would have allowed more transfer opportunities, but voters decided the current system was fair and they overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 5. Now Sacramento politicians are offering this proposal again, but this time they've added a massive tax increase on inherited property. It's a bad deal for California families. California voters have said clearly that they do not want property reassessed to market value when transferred between parents and children, or, if the children's parents are deceased, between grandparents and grandchildren. Now Sacramento politicians are trying to take these protections away from California families so they can raise taxes again. Don’t let it happen. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 19. JON COUPAL, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association SENATOR PATRICIA BATES, District 36 ASSEMBLYMAN KEN COOLEY, District 8
California Proposition 19, Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment (2020) - Ballotpedia
A "yes" vote supports this constitutional amendment to: * allow eligible homeowners to transfer their tax assessments anywhere within the state and allow tax assessments to be transferred to a more expensive home with an upward adjustment; * increase the number of times that persons over 55 years old or
🚫 San Francisco Chronicle
"But it’s still a flawed package, designed to rev up home sales that benefit real estate agents who could reap more in commissions. It favors one narrow segment of the tax-paying public but does nothing for the rest of the state’s home buyers. The measure shows the convoluted extremes that California’s tangled property tax system produces."
✅ The San Diego Union-Tribune
"While critics see this as a gift to the wealthy elderly, the great majority of older homeowners are middle-income, not rich. Allowing them (as well as disabled homeowners and wildfire or disaster victims) to downsize without suffering a huge property tax hit is a humane policy that helps people retire with much less financial stress. It would also promote fluidity in home sales, increasing the availability of larger homes for families with children and easing the phenomenon of Proposition 13 depressing the real estate free market by trapping empty nesters in homes bigger than they need. So vote yes on Proposition 19. It’s not perfect, but it is good."
🚫 American Civil Liberties Union SoCal
"Vote to prevent another tax break that benefits only the wealthy.
Prop 19 creates another tax break for already wealthy property owners by allowing homeowners over age 55, living with disabilities or displaced by wildfires to carry their existing property tax rates to new homes anywhere in the state up to three times. Prop 19 does nothing to address California’s unaffordable housing crisis and may threaten funding for schools and essential services in some counties. Voters rejected a similar proposition in 2018. Vote NO on Prop 19 to stop a tax break that would increase inequity and widen the wealth gap."
🚫 Los Angeles Times
"But Proposition 19 would just expand the inequities in California’s property tax system. It would grossly benefit those who were lucky enough to buy a home years ago and hold onto it as values skyrocketed. It would give them a huge tax break and greater buying power in an already expensive real estate market. It would skew tax breaks further away from people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one."
🚫 The Mercury News
"Prop. 19 merely plugs one hole in the state’s porous property tax laws while creating another. It’s time for holistic reform that simplifies the system and makes it more equitable. This isn’t it. [...] The longer a person had owned their current home, and already benefited from inordinately low tax bills due to Prop. 13, the greater the tax break on the new property. And those who downsize would often be competing with first-time buyers for more-affordable smaller homes. The real reform would be to abolish the tax-transfer program, not expand it. Vote no on Prop. 19."
🚫 Orange County Register
"But Prop. 19 is best understood for what it is: an attempt by real estate interests to accomplish what they couldn’t accomplish two years ago by pandering to the state’s firefighters union. This is a special-interest measure that seeks to raise hundreds of millions of new tax revenues to appease yet another special interest. Prop. 19 has one good feature — portability. Counties ought to enable it forthwith, as a few already have done. But Prop. 19 is a cash grab, not tax reform; it’s not fair to property heirs, and it buys off a union so it has a better chance of passing. Vote it down."
🚫 The Desert Sun
"What seems clear is that the main backers of this measure — Realtors and the firefighters union — stand to gain greatly in the forms of expected increased home sales and related sales commissions and the measure’s dedication of some of the state’s ultimate new tax proceeds specifically to firefighting efforts. Firefighting must be a priority of state and local governments. Budgeting for anything so vital by this type of special interest ballot measure is the worst way to do so. Lawmakers should be making such key spending decisions in their regular budget work."
Editorial: Vote no on Props 15, 19 - harmful, poorly timed tweaks to 1978's Prop 13
Endorsements are decided by the Editorial Board, which operates independently of the Desert Sun news staff. The Editorial Board consists of Opinion Editor Al Franco, Executive Editor Julie Makinen, Desert Sun Staff Member Darby Wright and community members Gloria Franz, Becky Kurtz, Terria Smith and Rob Moon.
✅ California Democratic Party
"Helps seniors, disabled homeowners, and wildfire victims; closes tax loopholes on out-of-state trust fund heirs."
Prop 19 provides tax savings and housing relief for vulnerable Californians, so they can afford to move closer to family or medical care, or a home that better meets their needs. By removing unfair, ever-changing location restrictions, millions of seniors and disabled homeowners are allowed to transfer the tax rate and Prop 13 savings from their existing home to a replacement home anywhere in California.
🤷 Republican Party
"Make an Informed Decision
Prop 19 is an important measure that may have significant tax implications for many California homeowners. The California Republican Party has not taken a position on Prop 19, but we encourage all voters to learn more about this measure and make an informed decision this November."