As California goes, there goes the nation

Leaving LA

Leaving LA

California’s unions try again to repleal Proposition 13 property tax cap.

The measure capped property tax rates at 1 percent of the sales price and limited increases to 2 percent a year (plus local bonds). Prop. 13 has been the third rail of California politics—you don't touch it, if you want to live—since then.

Californians' tax rates are among the nation's highest in almost every category, but their property tax levels have remained reasonable. Given high home values, the state still gets a hefty share of those dollars. According to a calculator from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the annual property taxes on my modest home would increase $15,000 if Proposition 13 were eliminated. I'd be moving out of state.

Liberals have long blamed Prop. 13 for destroying public services, but that's malarkey. The state's total tax take has increased significantly, even on a per-capita basis, over that time. Our government employees are the best paid in the nation, and they receive pension deals that boggle the mind. State budgets have set spending records and schools received a 66-percent funding boost over six years. Services are crummy because of bureaucratic priorities—not funding shortages.

You can consider any new property taxes as pension taxes. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) are vastly underfunded even after years of record stock-market gains. If recession hits, they could get sucked into an inextricable hole. This is because for years cities and school districts have been passing unaffordable pension increases. Money is fungible, so new property tax dollars—however they are earmarked—will cover up this problem.

California was the first to strike back at Uber and Lyft, which threaten taxi unions, curtail Airbnb (hotel union employees) and charter schools (NEA). It certainly isn’t unique in its hostility to private, free individuals who interfere with socialists’ plans, but it’s the largest state completely controlled by Democrats. If you want a glimpse of the nation’s future under any of the Democrat presidential candidates, glance west. Then flee, if you can, but where?