Lately it has become the vogue among people writing about property taxes to refer to Proposition 13 as unfair and divisive. There is a trend toward "equalizing" property taxes, and given the greed of government, equalization will inevitably mean higher taxes for all. Perhaps a review of the causes of Proposition 13 is in order.
In 1970, I purchased a house for $34,950. The annual property tax was $765, or 2.1% of market value. In 1978 the appraised value had increased 273% to $95,500. The annual property tax was to be $3,150, a 412% increase, and 3.2% of value.
Proposition 13 reduced my appraisal value to $55,000 and my tax to 1% of value, or $550. This initial tax is still 1% of market value for any home sale, with the value fixed by the actual price paid. Thus, a buyer would have to pay $315,000 in order to pay the taxes I would have been required to pay in 1978.
In a word, the tax burden is not oppressive on the new buyer. If he can't afford the 1% tax now, he most certainly could not afford the tax under the old "equitable" method. A tax of 1% is certainly as fair as a 6 1/2% tax on say automobiles, where the purchaser is forced to pay higher prices for the same model car than in prior years.