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  • Archive for May 11th, 2015

    May 11

    ANTI-PROP 13 GROUP REVEALS ITSELF IN SACRAMENTO

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    A newly formalized coalition of public employee unions and other left-wing political groups held a press conference this week to reveal an effort to repeal commercial real estate protections under Proposition 13.  Ultimately, the groups says its goal is to impose an $9 billion tax on businesses through “split roll” – removing Prop 13 protections for commercial real estate so taxes can be raised separately from residential and agricultural properties.

    The coalition has come together under the slogan “Make It Fair; Close the Corporate Loopholes and Rebuild California,” which is very similar to sloganeering from activist groups that have been trying to erode public support of Prop. 13.

    Click here is a list of the group’s funders, leaders, and public supporters.

    At this point it is not clear what the group is planning to do, though we expect that gathering signatures for a proposition attempt is the direction they are heading.  See below for a story from the Sac Bee about this effort.

    May 11

    CALIFORNIANS TO STOP HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES

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    We are founding member of a coalition of business and taxpayer organizations that has banded together to provide education and information about the problems related with fundamentally changing Proposition 13.

    The group is named Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes.  On behalf of individuals and companies that will be impacted by higher property taxes, the coalition provides a website with lots of good resources for news and information, including academic studies that show the negative impacts a split roll would have on California’s economy.

    Click here to visit the CSHPT website.

    May 11

    NEWS: “UNION-LED COALITION LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE PROPOSITION 13”

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    Here is news coverage of the announcement to repeal Prop 13 by the Sacramento Bee:

    Union-led coalition launches campaign to change Proposition 13

    By Dan Walters

    A coalition of public employee unions and other liberal groups, including many churches, launched a campaign Thursday to alter Proposition 13, California’s iconic property tax limit, and raise billions of dollars by hiking taxes on commercial property.

    The organization, Make It Fair, is headed by unions, including the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union, which would be the main source of millions of dollars to qualify the initiative for the 2016 ballot and campaign for its passage.

    The proposed measure would remove Proposition 13’s limits on what the organization considers to be commercial property – industrial, retail and office complexes, mostly – while leaving them in place for owner-occupied homes, residential rental properties and agricultural land.

    If enacted, the Proposition 13 revision would raise as much as $9 billion a year that advocates say are needed to adequately finance schools and improve local government services.

    “California is losing billions of dollars every year thanks to problems in the law that allow some big corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to avoid paying their fair share,” campaign spokesman Anthony Thigpenn said in a statement as backers rallied at Sutter Middle School in Sacramento.

    However, the campaign to revise Proposition 13, passed by voters in 1978, will face stiff opposition from a business-backed coalition called Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes.

    “California’s small businesses struggle every day to overcome our state’s massive tax burden and keep their doors open,” said Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Association. “By continuing to raise taxes, the state is forcing businesses out of California, and they’re taking our jobs with them. A split roll property tax proposal is the last thing California’s businesses need. Further, the increased costs from this proposal will ultimately be passed on to California consumers at a time when many California families are struggling to make ends meet.”

    Proposition 13 limits property taxes on all forms of property to 1 percent of value, plus what’s needed to retire bonds and other debts, and limits increases in value to no more than 2 percent a year, except when properties change hands. Newly constructed homes and commercial buildings are placed on the tax roll at their initial values, but are protected by the limits thereafter.

    Critics say that business properties rarely change hands, and when they do the deals are structured to avoid triggering an upgrade of taxable values by never transferring more than 50 percent ownership in one transaction. The result, they say, is a loophole that allows business property owners to avoid a fair share of taxes.

    Last year, business groups and some tax reformers agreed to a revision of those standards that stopped short of a “split roll” that would remove all limits on commercial property. But the agreement fell apart later and never was enacted.