The Business Journal: “Farmers Fear Property Tax Changes Under Split-Roll Initiative”

Farmers and consumers will be hurt by $12.5 billion-a-year property tax hike


SACRAMENTO, CA
– The Business Journal published an article this week exposing a major flaw in the $12.5 billion-a-year property tax measure proposed for the November 3, 2020, ballot. Specifically, the measure will destroy long-standing Proposition 13 protections for farmers and ranchers, resulting in skyrocketing property tax bills. If approved by voters, the measure will hurt all Californians, who will pay higher prices for everything they buy – from a gallon of milk to fresh state-grown produce.

The California Farm Bureau Federation, which represents nearly 34,000 farmers and ranchers across the state, opposes the largest property tax hike in California history due to its negative impacts on agriculture—contrary to the Attorney General’s official title and summary, which inaccurately claims the measure will exempt “agricultural properties.”

Read excerpts from The Business Journal’s article “Farmers fear property tax changes under split-roll initiative” below: 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated in the title and summary of the chief purpose and points that exempted from the changes would be “residential properties; agricultural properties; and owners of commercial and industrial properties with combined value of $3 million or less.”

It turns out, the “split roll” initiative…will apply to certain agricultural properties.

While the split-roll measure will not be applied to the land or soil itself, it will be applied to any structures or improvements…

John Roeloffs, owner of J R Dairy in Tipton that covers about 1,000 acres in Tulare County, has been working on his family’s dairy farms since he was a young boy…

“We’re always trying to innovate to keep it in the black, and now they’re going to start taxing our innovations,” Roeloffs said. “That will make things really hard. My property taxes are already huge, and now I’m going to have more.”

According to an “Agricultural Land Fact Sheet” released by Schools and Communities First campaign, a coalition in support of the initiative, “a dairy barn, food processing facilities, and wineries would be reassessed as they are commercial and industrial.”

…The consumer will eventually end up paying higher prices in the grocery store, [California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie] Johansson added. He also said that it could undo efforts of buying from local farmers because crops from the state could be more expensive than ones coming from other states or foreign countries.

###

ABOUT CALIFORNIANS TO SAVE PROP 13 AND STOP HIGHER PROPERTY TAXES
Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING: Split-roll Property Tax Increase Will Raise Costs For State’s Farming Community And Ultimately For All California Consumers

SACRAMENTO, CA: Yesterday, the state’s largest agriculture group, the California Farm Bureau Federation, opposed the split-roll property tax ballot measure. The organization argued that if Proposition 13’s protections for agriculture are destroyed, it will increase costs for California farmers by taxing everything from almond trees to dairies at current market value. Backers of the proposed initiative, which is the largest property tax increase in California history, are currently collecting signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE NEW TAX ON AGRICULTURE:


Even the proponents of the measure admit it!

In their own words…“Commercial or industrial structures on agricultural land would be taxed at fair market value…for example, a dairy barn, food processing facilities, and wineries would be reassessed as they are commercial and industrial.”
Schools and Communities First, Agriculture Fact Sheet, September 2019

“It’s unusual for the Farm Bureau to oppose a measure at this early stage, but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California. Although its backers claim agricultural land would not be affected, the initiative would trigger annual tax reassessments at market value for agricultural improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries, processing plants, vineyards and orchards. The split-roll measure would increase the tax burden on California farmers at a time when family farms and ranches already face threats to their water supplies and rising costs to comply with the state’s employment and environmental regulations.”
— Jamie Johansson, President, California Farm Bureau Federation

“Whether on a tree or vine, at a dairy or at a processing facility, every fresh fruit, vegetable and gallon of milk we buy at the grocery store will cost more under this property tax initiative. At a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and provide healthy, farm-to-fork options for their families, we simply cannot afford the largest property tax increase in California history.”
— Rob Lapsley, President, California Business Roundtable and Co-Chair, Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes

In addition to the California Farm Bureau and other local farm bureaus, a list of all groups and organizations opposed to the split-roll property tax hike can be found here.

###


About Californians To Save Prop 13 And Stop Higher Property Taxes
Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of homeowners, taxpayers, and businesses, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

California Farm Bureau Federation Opposes $12.5 Billion-A-Year Split-Roll Property Tax Measure

Measure destroys Prop 13 protections for California farmers, threatening rural communities

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Farm Bureau Federation, which represents nearly 34,000 farmers and ranchers across the state, today announced its opposition to the proposed $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike. Backers of the proposed initiative, which will be the largest property tax hike in California history, are currently collecting signatures to qualify it for the November 2020 ballot. If approved by voters, the measure will destroy Proposition 13’s protections for California farmers, not only hurting rural communities but also all Californians who will pay higher prices on everything from a gallon of milk to fresh state-grown produce.

“It’s unusual for the Farm Bureau to oppose a measure at this early stage, but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California,” said Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. “Although its backers claim agricultural land would not be affected, the initiative would trigger annual tax reassessments at market value for agricultural improvements such as barns, dairies, wineries, processing plants, vineyards and orchards. The split-roll measure would increase the tax burden on California farmers at a time when family farms and ranches already face threats to their water supplies and rising costs to comply with the state’s employment and environmental regulations.”

Recently, the proponents of the largest property tax increase in state history admitted in their own materials that “a dairy barn, food processing facilities, and wineries would be reassessed,” which will greatly increase the burden that farmers face daily. According to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, California ranks the highest for taxing family farms, with an average of $17,299 paid per farm.

“The California Farm Bureau Federation’s endorsement today underscores a critical flaw in this initiative,” said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. “Whether on a tree or vine, at a dairy or at a processing facility, every fresh fruit, vegetable and gallon of milk we buy at the grocery store will cost more under this property tax initiative. At a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and provide healthy, farm-to-fork options for their families, we simply cannot afford the largest property tax increase in California history.”

###


About Californians To Save Prop 13 And Stop Higher Property Taxes
Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

California Business Roundtable President Writes Open Letter to Governor Newsom, Asks To Support Job Growth Over New Property Tax Measure

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Stanford University-based Hoover Institution published an open letter in Eureka yesterday from Robert Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, asking Governor Gavin Newsom to oppose the $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike that is headed to the November ballot. The letter urges Newsom to instead focus on strategies that will create long-term job opportunities for middle-class and blue-collar workers as an alternative approach to supporting the largest property tax increase in state history.

Read excerpts from Lapsley’s open letter, “A Suggestion for the Governor: The Best Way to Raise Revenue Is to Allow Businesses to Create New Jobs, Not to Support the Largest Tax Increase in State History” below:

“…why would anyone consider sponsoring or supporting the largest tax increase in state history? A tax increase that strikes at the heart of Proposition 13, the only taxpayer protections we have left in our state constitution?

“Sacramento public employee unions and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative are planning to do just that—they are 100 percent committed to putting a $12.5 billion-a-year property tax increase on the November ballot…

“Just how will this property tax increase exacerbate the cost-of-living crisis? Simply put, there isn’t a business or resident that won’t pay more if businesses pay more in property taxes. The public employee unions insist they have carved out an exemption for small businesses, but most small businesses do not own the properties on which they operate. They pay rent under a standard lease that passes on the property taxes and maintenance costs to the business as a condition of their agreement. The higher property taxes on businesses both large and small will ultimately get passed on to all Californians.

“Governor, we simply ask that you do not go along with this tax increase—for the sake of California businesses and taxpayers who all stand to lose if we go down the ruinous road of higher property taxes.”

About Californians To Save Prop 13 And Stop Higher Property Taxes
Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###

Split-Roll Property Tax Measure Continues to Sink in Public Polls

USC Rossier School of Education Poll the Latest to Demonstrate Declining Support Among Voters

SACRAMENTO, CA – The USC Rossier School of Education released last week polling results on the $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike showing only 45 percent of voters support the measure. This result comes as no surprise as the USC poll is the fifth independent public poll during the last 12 months to show that less than 50 percent of voters support the measure, marking a downward trend.

“As voters learn the truth about the attack on Proposition 13 and the $12.5 billion price tag in higher property taxes that will be paid by Californians each year, they are opposing the flawed initiative in droves,” said Rob Gutierrez, president and CEO of the California Taxpayers Association. “Passage of this flawed initiative will result in higher costs for consumers on everything we buy and use, including milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, and daily necessities like gas and childcare.”

In November of 2019, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that only 46 percent of likely voters support the split-roll measure. An earlier poll by the PPIC in September 2019 found just 47 percent of likely voters support the tax hike. In July 2019, Change Research found only 39 percent of likely voters supported the measure and in January 2019, the PPIC announced only 49 percent of likely voters were persuaded by the measure.

Last fall, after the PPIC announced its September poll, Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO stated, “It’s a hard place to start from, and then add in the fact that it’s easier for people to vote ‘no’ than ‘yes’ and we know there’s a ‘no’ campaign.” Baldassare also said he consistently finds 60 percent of voters believe Proposition 13 is “a good thing.”

About Californians To Save Prop 13 And Stop Higher Property Taxes
Californians to Save Prop 13 and Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split-roll property tax for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###

Proponents of $12.5 Billion-A-Year Property Tax Hike Grasping at Straws Amid CTA Members Failing to Meet Signature Collecting Quotas and Public Polling Sinking Below 50 Percent

SACRAMENTO, CA – Amid recent press reports that California Teachers Association members are less than thrilled about gathering signatures to qualify the $12.5 billion-a-year property tax hike for the November ballot, proponents today are rolling out a series of “endorsements” from a number of people who have already stated their support for the measure, exposing increased desperation to show momentum for a measure that has repeatedly failed to reach majority support in numerous independent public polls.

“Voters already know that the $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike will fall on the backs of California families with increased prices for everything they buy and use,” stated Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. “Destroying Prop 13 and increasing taxes on business means higher costs for a gallon of milk, groceries, gasoline, restaurants, prescriptions, clothing, daycare, health care and more. California already has among the highest cost of living and now is not the time to make things worse.”

Today’s announcement by split-roll proponents isn’t their first attempt to keep their measure afloat. In August of last year, proponents admitted their first split-roll measure was fatally flawed after spending $3.5 million to qualify the measure in 2018. Now, the proponents, who are determined to destroy Prop 13 at any cost, could be spending double that amount to qualify a measure that consistently tests under 50 percent in independent public polls.

In November of last year, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that only 46 percent of likely voters support the split-roll measure, the lowest the measure tested all year, marking a downward trend. Earlier polls in September found just 47 percent of likely voters support the tax hike, and in January, PPIC announced only 49 percent of likely voters were persuaded by the measure.

“Again, and again, public polls show that Californians oppose the largest tax increase in state history, and we don’t blame them,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “California already has the highest state sales, income and gas taxes, pushing families and businesses out of state in droves. The split-roll property tax will only make things worse, and Californians know that if this measure passes, proponents will come after Prop 13 protections on their homes next.”

Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes and Save Prop 13, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Prop 13 and oppose a split roll for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###

ICYMI: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Warns, “California is on the verge of another taxpayer revolt”

$12.5 billion-a-year property tax hike will result in more voters, businesses moving out of state

SACRAMENTO, CA – Last week, Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, wrote an opinion piece for The Daily News cautioning legislators that Californians have had enough and are on the verge of another taxpayer revolt. Coupal warns the $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike that is currently gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot will increase prices for consumers and drive up costs for the goods and services we buy every day. Coupal argues the property tax hike, which is the largest tax increase in state history, will make life more difficult for California families and small businesses, pushing many to move out of state. His op-ed ran in all 11 of the Southern California News Group newspapers.

Read excerpts of Coupal’s op-ed, “Another California tax revolt,” below:

“Sadly, California politicians have forgotten about the taxpayer revolt that occurred just over four decades ago. The Golden State now has the highest gas tax, state income tax and state sales tax, which has translated to the highest percentage of population living in poverty and nearly the highest cost of living in the country.

“This time, instead of tossing tea into the harbor or heading to the polls to vote for change, Californians are revolting by voting with their feet and moving out of state…

“Despite all this, Sacramento politicians and special interests are pushing for higher taxes even after the Legislative Analyst projected a $7 billion budget surplus for the year 2020-21...

“And, if that’s not bad enough, an initiative collecting signatures to qualify for the November 3, 2020 ballot would raise property taxes by $12.5 billion a year.

“The measure would remove Proposition 13’s protections for commercial and industrial properties and tax them based on their current market value, rather than the purchase price.

“Ultimately, higher taxes on businesses mean higher costs for everything we buy, including rent, groceries, gasoline, restaurants, prescriptions, clothing, daycare, health care and much more…

“It is clear that California is on the verge of another taxpayer revolt. Whether it is voting against higher taxes at the ballot box or packing up their bags and moving out of state, California families have had enough.”

Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Proposition 13 and oppose a split roll for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###

$12.5 Billion-A-Year Property Tax Hike Continues to Sink Under 50 Percent Support in Public Polls

Largest Tax Increase in California History Has Tough Road Ahead

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the results of a recent public poll showing that only 46 percent of likely voters support the $12.5 billion-a-year property tax hike that is currently collecting signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot and a strong 45 percent of likely voters oppose the measure. This marks the third PPIC poll this year to find less than 50 percent of California voters support the split-roll measure, a clear indication that the largest tax increase in state history is on a downward trend and has a tough road ahead.

“It’s clear that proponents are out of touch with reality. California already has the highest cost of living in the nation, and we shouldn’t do anything to make it even more expensive to live here,” stated Rob Lapsley, President of the California Business Roundtable and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. “Destroying Proposition 13 and increasing taxes on business means higher costs for everything we buy including rent, a gallon of milk, groceries, gasoline, restaurants, prescriptions, clothing, daycare, health care and more.”

“We’re thrilled that California voters can see through the smoke and mirrors. Despite what proponents say, the $12.5 billion-a-year tax hike will fall on the backs of small businesses,” said John Kabateck, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. “Nearly 78 percent of small businesses do not qualify for the so-called ‘small business exemption’ because they rent and the increased property tax bills will just get passed onto them as part of their lease agreements, making the cost of doing business even more expensive.”

“The proponents of the largest property tax increase in California history have a tough road ahead if they cannot manage to secure even 50 percent support one year out from the election,” said Robert Gutierrez, president of the California Taxpayers Association and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. “The reality is the split-roll measure is the first step in repealing Proposition 13 and increasing property taxes on homeowners, and we are prepared to wage an aggressive campaign to defeat the measure.”

About Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes
Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes is a broad-based coalition of homeowners, taxpayers and businesses opposing the $12 billion split-roll property tax measure headed to the November 3, 2020 ballot. Learn more about the campaign at: www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org

###

ICYMI: California Taxpayers Association President Warns, “Don’t fall for petition on California split-roll property tax”

SACRAMENTO, CA – Last week, Robert Gutierrez, president of the California Taxpayers Association, penned an opinion piece for The Modesto Bee cautioning voters to be wary of the $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax hike that is currently gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

Read excerpts of Gutierrez’s op-ed, “Don’t fall for petition on California split-roll property tax,” below:

Higher property taxes on businesses mean higher prices for consumers on everything we buy, including gasoline, groceries, diapers, clothes and utilities. California already has the highest percentage of population living in poverty, and suffers from the nation’s third-highest cost of living. The split-roll property tax will only make things worse. However, that’s not what signature gatherers will tell you when they approach you at your local grocery store.

“They will tell you all the money goes to schools, yet less than 40 cents of every dollar raised would go to schools, and even that isn’t guaranteed.

“…Even worse, the Legislature will define what constitutes “commercial use” of all property, including residential property. This means the Legislature could erode Proposition 13 protections even further, increasing taxes on Californians at an alarming rate, as was the case before Proposition 13 was approved by voters in 1978.

“The reality is this measure is the first step in repealing Proposition 13 and increasing property taxes on homeowners.”

Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Proposition 13 and oppose a split roll for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###

ICYMI: Growing List of Columnists, Editorial Boards Voice Frustration Over Attorney General Becerra’s Biased Title & Summary for $12.5 Billion Property Tax Hike

SACRAMENTO, CA – Earlier this month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra released the title and summary for the $12.5 billion a year split-roll property tax measure and sparked outrage with reporters, columnists and editorial boards across the state. The title and summary, which is supposed to be a nonpartisan, impartial analysis for voters, was written to give the proponents an unfair advantage at passing the largest tax increase in California history. Proponents of the $12.5 billion property tax hike are now collecting signatures to qualify the measure for the November 3, 2020, ballot.

Read what reporters, columnists and editorial boards across California have to say about Attorney General Becerra’s biased title and summary for the split-roll property tax measure below:

“Becerra should be ashamed — and his office should be stripped of ballot summary duties in perpetuity. But first someone should sue over this new abuse of power,” said the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board.

“It’s the most disreputable ballot description we’ve seen,” the Southern California News Group editorial board said. “When AGs such as Becerra betray public trust this way, they erode faith in our democracy as people realize those in charge rig the rules to help their friends. It really is shameful.”

It’s past time to take this duty away from the attorney general, Republican or Democratic, regardless of one’s view of the nobility of any particular cause. Voters deserve to have an objective assessment of the issue before them… Becerra is the latest to show that he can’t be trusted with that solemn obligation to voter education,” John Diaz, editorial page writer for the San Francisco Chronicle said. “Voters should not accept these insults to their intelligence and independence.”

“Obviously, Becerra and other attorneys general past, present and future shouldn’t be taking political sides on ballot measures. Obviously, too, they will continue doing so unless the process is changed,” Dan Walters, columnist at CALmatters emphasized.

“It’s become a dishonorable California tradition: state attorneys general draft titles and summaries for ballot initiatives that don’t pass the laugh test. Our current A.G., Xavier Becerra, is getting justified criticism for his summary of the split roll initiative,” Joe Mathews, columnist and editor at Zócalo Public Square stated.

“…I have argued that the title and summary power should be taken from the partisan elected attorney general and turned over to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office in an effort to squeeze some of the politics out of the process,” Joel Fox, editor and co-publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily said. “Now I have a fresh case study of why that is a good idea as well as an example of real world politics to affect policy, not the way students read about policy procedures in textbooks.”

Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes, a coalition of businesses, taxpayers, homeowners and renters, has been fighting to protect Proposition 13 and oppose a split roll for more than a decade. For more information, please visit www.StopHigherPropertyTaxes.org.

###