Supporters of an effort to establish a split-roll property tax are currently working to accumulate signatures in order to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. Known as Initiative 19-0008, supporters of the measure will have until April 14 to file the necessary number of signatures to be placed on the ballot. The measure has already met the first threshold for requiring legislative hearings on the initiative. Although still early in the process, many organizations are already working to raise awareness about the negative impact it would have on an array of industries if it were to pass.
“Although its backers claim agricultural land would not be affected, the initiative would trigger annual tax reassessments at market value for agricultural improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries, processing plants, vineyards and orchards,” said California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson. “The split-roll measure would increase the tax burden on California farmers at a time when family farms and ranches already face threats to their water supplies and rising costs to comply with the state’s employment and environmental regulations.”
Nearly 100 different statewide and regional organizations representing various different types of industries have joined the Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes coalition in opposing a split-roll property tax. Proposition 13 was passed in 1978, limiting increases in property taxes to two percent unless the building was sold, more than 50 percent was transferred, or there was significant construction performed. The initiative that may potentially be voted on later this year seeks to have buildings on commercial and industrial properties, including agricultural facilities, reassessed and taxed at their full value.
“Whether on a tree or vine, at a dairy or at a processing facility, every fresh fruit, vegetable and gallon of milk we buy at the grocery store will cost more under this property tax initiative,” Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable. “At a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and provide healthy, farm-to-fork options for their families, we simply cannot afford the largest property tax increase in California history.”