Guest opinion column by County Supervisor Sue Frost–
The last board meeting of the year has come and gone, and I have officially completed my first year as your County Supervisor. During the year I made it a point to write an opinion piece every month – some of them were to explain how and why I voted the way I did, some were to explain my stance on a controversial issue, and some were to simply bring to your attention an important topic that impacts Citrus Heights residents.
However, I noticed as I reviewed all 11 of them that very few of them were positive. So in the spirit of the holiday season, I want to use my 12th article of the year to be about something I am advocating in support of: the expansion of Proposition 13.
As you may know, Proposition 13 was passed in 1978 by a large margin and resulted in a cap on property tax rates in California, reducing property taxes by an average of 57% while also requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future tax increases. Unsurprisingly, opinion polls conducted since then have shown it remains wildly popular among homeowners and taxpayers.
But there are two notable catches to Proposition 13. First, if you want to ever sell your home and buy a new one for a higher value, your new home will be taxed at a brand new rate and you will lose your former cap. Second, even if your new home is a lower value than the one you sold, you lose your former cap if the new home is in a different county.
This causes a disincentive to sell, causing less turnover in the housing market and making it more difficult for young people to buy a home. This is especially problematic in California, as we are experiencing a housing crisis that has home-ownership rates at their lowest since World War II. I know this personally impacts me, as I would never dream of selling my home in Citrus Heights if I knew I would lose my lower property tax rate.
We can fix this rather easily by removing these two impediments. We need to make it so all counties can accept these transfers from counties across California, and we need to make it so you can buy a more expensive home and keep a similar tax rate.
I fully recognize that expansion of Proposition 13 would not just allow homeowners to keep more money in their bank account, but as a consequence counties would receive less tax revenues. As such, my stance may be an unpopular one among county supervisors across California, as government representatives have a tendency to be wary of any efforts to strip their governmental entities of funding. I am convinced however that people being able to keep more of their tax dollars at home would have a positive impact on our local economy and provide more home-ownership opportunities to entry level home-buyers.
Finally, I want to invite everyone to my first Citrus Heights community meeting of 2018, on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Conference Room (6360 Fountain Square Drive). This is an opportunity for you to get an update from me and to ask me any questions you may have. I always stay after the meeting to make sure that every person has an opportunity to ask their questions.
Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost formerly served as a Citrus Heights councilwoman and currently represents District 4, which includes Citrus Heights. She can be contacted at (916) 874-5491, or SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.
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