Proposition 13 has been very controversial since its passage in 1978. There have been and continue to be strong arguments on both sides. In the past few years there has been greater focus on Prop. 13 as result of the financial crisis and real estate problems we are currently facing. Review some of the literature on the Web and make your own argument:
1. Do you agree/disagree with Prop. 13?
2. Do you think Prop. 13 should be kept as is, amended or repealed?
Prop 13 passed largely because people wanted lower property taxes. As mentioned above, everyone wants taxes cut, but no one wants to suffer from a lack of services provided by those taxes. I repeatedly hear elderly people complain about paying the school tax when they have no one in school. Well, our society depends on people with good educations and critical thinking skills to run local businesses, thus creating jobs, as well as government, etc. If we want to live well, we must pay the taxes. On the other hand, the people who are managing the money must manage and spend wisely. It is not to make a few very wealthy while the rest of us wonder where are tax money is going.
Possible reforms would therefore benefit from trying to return power from the hands of the state government to the local government. Local control and involvement should be encouraged rather than the responsibility being taken away to a higher, state level.
I agree, and would also suggest that citizens are most willing to pay taxes when they can see a direct and local benefit from doing so. By helping to turn state tax policy into a whirlwind of funding which few people understand or are even aware of, I think people came to feel less connected to taxes, government, and their responsibilities as citizens within it. There seems to be a prevailing national sentiment in favor of cutting taxes while still expecting government services to continue unabated. Prop 13 was one policy that contributed to that.
What I think is bad about Prop 13 is that it gave too much power over funding to the state government. After the proposition passed, the state government started giving money to the cities to make up for what they lost in property taxes. That takes away much of the cities' incentive to spend wisely. It also takes control over their taxes away from them. It does not make sense to take away local control and local responsibility for taxes and spending.