California’s low property taxes contribute to its financial pinch

Prop 13 - Property Taxes in California - KPBS - March 29, 2010

[…] Prop 13 locked in property assessments at 1 percent of the purchase price, and limited yearly increases to 2 percent. The result: California has among the lowest property tax rates in the country. In fact, more then half of all the homes in San Diego County are assessed below market value.

That may be good for the taxpayer – but it’s bad for schools, firefighters and police departments. They rely on property taxes for funding.

Howard Jarvis led the campaign against rising property taxes in 1978. He sold Prop 13 as a way for taxpayers, especially seniors, to stay in their homes.

"We have a new revolution against the arrogant politicians and insensitive bureaucrats whose philosophy of tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend, elect and elect and elect is bankrupting we the American people," Jarvis said.

But more than 30 years later, experts agree, Prop 13 is one of the reasons California is in a fiscal crisis.

Back in 2003, Warren Buffett, an adviser to then-gubernatorial candidate Schwarzennegar, criticized California’s property taxes as one of the reasons for its money woes, and got shit for it because he was advocating taxing and spending to a Republican candidate.

P.S. California…I think Warren Buffett knows what he’s talking about.