Proposition 19, the Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment, is a constitutional amendment on the ballot in California in the Nov. 3 election. It would allow homeowners ages 55 and older, those who are severely disabled or those whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster to transfer their property-tax base from their departing home to a new home purchased anywhere in the state of California.
Following are answers to questions about how Proposition 19 might affect local homeowners.
Q: I thought we already had propositions 60 and 90 that addressed this issue. What is different about Proposition 19?
A: Proposition 19 would allow you to transfer your current property-tax assessment to any home you purchased anywhere in the state. As it is now, only some counties allow it. It also would allow you to purchase a more expensive home. Your property tax would be adjusted up, but not to full market value.
Q: As it is now, the current rules allow this exception to be used once. Will that change?
A: Eligible sellers and buyers would be allowed to use it for up to three transactions.
Q: What about the current exemptions for transfers from parents and grandparents to children?
A: The rules will change in that the home must be lived in as a principal residence by the child or grandchild taking over.
Q: Will this generate additional revenue or cost the state money?
A: My take on it is that it will create additional revenue for the state.
Q: Where will this money go?
A: The amendment allocates additional revenue or net savings resulting from the ballot measure to wildfire agencies and counties. A total of 75% of the calculated revenue generated will go to the fire response fund and 15% to the county revenue protection fund. The county revenue protection fund would be used to reimburse counties for revenue losses related to the measure’s property-tax changes.
While there is an argument that this could cost counties revenue, my study of it concludes that it will actually generate revenue for counties, free up housing inventory and be a net positive change. I will be voting for it.
For more information on the amendment, visit elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/ballot-measures/pdf/aca11.pdf.