Proposition 13 Essay, Research Paper
California’s Proposition 13 had a big impact on American government and public policy because it put to vote the reduction of property taxes. This Proposition had a great impact as it swept the county and made headlines in newspapers around the world. People used this initiative process to gain a greater control over their lives. The California taxpayers stood up and said no more to excessive taxes because they were tired of out of control property taxes and losing their homes because they could not pay property taxes while the government did nothing to help them. This in turn hurt the schools, cities, counties and special districts. From this proposition, we have a few others like proposition 218 and proposition 37.
There are two sides to every Proposition because there is some good and some bad from voting or not voting this in to effect. Some Californians thought Proposition 13 was a very good idea because it restricted property taxes to the maximum rate of 1 %, which made some people happy because they were in fear of losing their house because they could not pay the taxes. This in effect took away from the schools that were in desperate need of funds for programs like music, art and other programs.
I talked with a teacher of mine at Chapman University by the name of Les Clements, PhD, to see how he felt about Proposition 13 and he had a lot to say. He felt that this was an idea whose time had come. He also felt that it was totally outrageous to cut programs like music, art and everything except the essentials. “What got me was that it so favored the landlords and the big business owners they got away with paying only one percent so it saved them a bunch while the homeowners saved only a few dollars. All this happened because the people got fed up with the government misusing their tax dollars. I would have rather paid a measly 200.00 to the government than to have Proposition 13. This is a slap in the face as a teacher, they are truly hurting the wrong things. Most people knew that it would do this and it did. I was resentful and how many ways can we express ourselves? I thought this was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What was even worse was that it undercut and there had to be reductions to meet constraints and we had to go backwards. Also the two-thirds vote should have been majority. Another impact was that other states followed California and the taxpayers wanted to send a message, I believe Oregon passed one. There is only one way to get around this proposition and that is mellow rues.”
This proposition had an effect because other states saw that California taxpayers had passed this into vote so they also decided to put this to vote and passed this in other states because they too were fed us with the government misusing their tax dollars.
This Proposition has led to Proposition 62, Proposition 218, Proposition 37 and Santa Clara Measure A to name a few. Proposition 62 became effective on November 5, 1986 this said that majority vote was required for general taxes, a two-thirds vote was required for local special taxes, provisions that existing taxes passed after July 31, 1985 would be put before voters within two years, the elimination of property tax transfers and attempted to apply to charter cities by withholding property tax from non-complying agencies. Out of this came the Santa Clara Measure A that placed a 0.5 percent sales tax for transportation on the ballot. This was approved by 54.1 percent of the voters. Measure A was ruled invalid by the Court of Appeals because it was a special tax that required two-thirds vote, according to the state Constitution. Then there was Proposition 218
which requires all local governments to gain majority approval for any new or increased general tax. Proposition 218 reiterates the current requirement that special taxes receive two-thirds voter approval. School districts are specifically precluded from levying a general tax. There was also a Proposition 37 that was deemed necessary to stop politicians from enacting any more “hidden taxes.” Without Proposition 37, politicians and special interest can fund their pet projects imposing “fees” on whatever products and services that consumers rely upon in their daily life like gas, telephones, food, cable household products and utilities. Proposition 37 simply re-affirms the intent of Propositions 13 and 218, which require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to impose new states taxes and a vote of people before any local tax can be imposed.
This continues to have an effect on the local government in California because every time the governments wants to impose a tax they have to put it to vote before the taxpayers if it has anything to do with local taxes. Schools are also still without some of the much needed programs that would benefit the children and help to keep them off the street. Teachers are also forced to have bigger classrooms due to the cuts. Although these propositions have helped a few people by lowering property taxes, I feel that in the long run the children are hurt due to the loss in programs such as art, music and some sports just because we want to pay a lower amount of property taxes. This is just something the people of California will have to live with.