California's Prop 13 Benefits Older Generations, Punishes Younger

A new study from USC concludes that the benefits of California's Prop. 13, which froze property tax rates, are unequally distributed among generations of homebuyers.
September 28, 2009, 10am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The Proposition's origins and cumulative effects over its 30 years are intertwined with California's soaring house prices. The boom of the late 1970s gave rise to the tax revolt because assessments in those years often rose 60% in a single two-year reassessment. However, the traumatic crash of 2008 calls new attention to our ingrained assumptions about upward price trends. Prop 13, as it is commonly known, was designed for a regime of rising home prices that has now ended. Its two main pillars were a fear of rising prices that drove property taxes to exorbitant levels and the promise that high taxes paid by new buyers would be reduced over time by inflation and made up for by higher taxes paid by other people when they bought at even higher prices in later years. Ever rising prices were the necessary key assumption."

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Published on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 in Urban Planning Research Blog
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