Business & Real Estate

Prop. 15 failure nixes property-tax makeover

Proposition 15, a ballot measure in this year’s election cycle that would have changed the way certain businesses are taxed, was voted down by a slim margin by California residents.

According to unofficial results, 52% of voters declined to initiate the change, with 48% approving. The proposition would have taxed commercial and industrial properties worth more than $3 million based on market value instead of purchase price. Forty percent of the funds would have gone toward K-12 schools and community colleges; School Services of California Inc. reported that the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District could have received up to $422,664 in 2025-2026, the first full year of the measure’s implementation.

Proponents hailed the measure as a way to increase taxes on wealthy corporations, with the $3 million threshold presumably exempting small businesses. A tax based on current market value would be higher than purchase price, especially for long-standing businesses.

However, the measure met with opposition from those who believed that the threshold was too low and would impact some mom-and-pop stores. There was also the thought that under a triple-net lease – which holds the renter responsible for ongoing property expenses – landlords would simply pass on the increased bill to renters, which would be an unintended consequence.

Proposition 19

Older California homeowners are set to receive a property-tax break, with Proposition 19 poised to pass.

The measure allows homeowners in the state over the age of 55 to pay lower property taxes if they move into a new house with an equal or more expensive value. It also would remove a tax break for children who inherit their parents’ homes if it isn’t their primary residence.

Proposition 19 also was decided narrowly: 51% of voters approved it, with 49% against.

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