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

– 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.


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