The fact that California’s K-12 schools rank among the bottom 10 should be a rallying cry to all concerned citizens, but Jim Larimer’s blaming of Proposition 13 for California’s education woes is off base. California had the eighth-highest tax burden per capita in the nation in 2018, according to the Tax Foundation; over $7,000 per person! The problem is that this state has not broadened the school funding sources.
The question is why isn’t a larger percentage of taxes going to public education? In a state that has some of the highest building costs and some of the most burdensome regulations in the nation, is it surprising that home values have soared? Proposition 13 protects homeowners from this government-induced housing inflation.
The two questions that legislators need to ask are how much revenue is necessary for education and other state programs, and what is the most equitable method of collecting taxes? Is it equitable for homeowners to pay 6 percent more every year for property taxes? How many Californians have seen a 6 percent annual increase in their incomes since 1976? Does Mr. Larimer want homeowners who do not have the income to pay the tens of thousands of dollars in additional property taxes to sell their homes to very rich people and move out of state?
Proposition 13 is not a subsidy because taxing wealth is neither equitable nor efficient. Governments do not tax the increase in your stock market portfolio every year; however, they tax the income you receive when you sell it. Similarly, the government taxes the income you receive when you sell your house. California is in the top 10 in state tax collections, so get your legislators to make it a priority to also bring education funding and achievement into the top 10.
Half Moon Bay