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'A Return to Equity'

February 28, 1986

Well, there you go again! Raising that ole debbil, Proposition 13 once more in your editorial (Feb. 17), "A Return to Equity." You fought the Jarvis-Gann initiative of 1978 right down to the wire and the defeat has rankled you ever since. Now, once again, having been unable to block it then, you want to see it changed.

Maybe Proposition 13 could have been better written. God knows we tried hard enough to get our legislators to write one. We turned to the initiative only because they let us down.

But what is "absurd" about a law that tells a home buyer what his taxes are going to be for as long as he owns his home? That they will be based precisely on what the place is worth to him as established by the price he agrees to pay?

Under the previous system the home owner was taxed on the basis of what the tax assessor decided the place was worth, raised regularly by the sales of someone else's property in the neighborhood--by circumstances beyond any home owner's control. Persons with fixed or limited incomes could and did lose their homes to the monster of taxation based on inflated paper values.

Granted, we who owned our homes in 1975 are getting a break. We earned it by the exorbitant taxes we paid before Proposition 13, during the runaway inflation years, and by the effort and money we put into getting Proposition 13 enacted. We're entitled to the protection we had reason to believe in when we bought our homes.

It is ironic that you, having opposed our pleas for equity then, now plead with the lawmakers to give relief to those who, unlike pre-1975 home owners, buy their homes fully aware of what they are getting into.

DAVID P. LEWIS

Sherman Oaks

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