This article was posted on Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015

 Proposition 13 was created to strictly limit what’s called your ad valorem property tax – the tax linked to the value of your home when you bought it – the amount that appears “above the line” on your property tax bill. 

Thanks to the support of dues-paying members, your HJTA has ensured that legitimate property tax is still strictly capped by Proposition 13, but … this year, politicians are trying to make it easy to impose and increase other kinds of homeowner taxes that appear “below the line” on your tax bill and are exempt from Proposition 13’s one percent cap.

Many homeowners are already paying more in “below the line” taxes than they do in legitimate property taxes capped by Prop. 13.  These include parcel taxes.  Parcel taxes overtax every lot the same, not considering value or ability to pay, so retirees in modest bungalows are hit with parcel taxes as high as millionaires in mansions. Parcel taxes are often imposed with no time limit and most increase annually to keep up with inflation.

The other category that politicians are ramping up is Homeowner Bond Debt, known as “voter-approved bonded indebtedness” borne only by homeowners, who often pay double the voter-approved debt thanks to compounding interest.

Parcel taxes and Homeowner Bond Debt can be imposed without limit because Proposition 13’s one percent cap does not apply to ANY “below the line” homeowner tax.  Anticipating tricks like this, Howard Jarvis wrote the two-thirds rule into Proposition 13 so that new taxes cannot be imposed without approval of two-thirds of the voters in an election.

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Too often, politicians get the needed votes by emphasizing the cause like schools while playing down or hiding that they are actually taxes.  They use deceptive ballot language and other tricks.  In any case, renters often get to cast the decisive votes on taxes paid only by property owners.

This year, the largest and most powerful pro-tax groups have joined forces to get rid of the two-thirds rule and in so doing, they will gut Proposition 13.

Every year, EVERY YEAR, pro-tax politicians try to pass Constitutional Amendments that would repeal the two-thirds vote requirement for one purpose or another.  We are fighting this kind of legislation right now and will face more of these attacks on Proposition 13 every month for the rest of the year and for years to come.  We can’t afford to lose even one because you can’t afford to pay even more of these illegitimate property taxes!

Homeowners saw “voter-approved indebtedness” for school bonds DOUBLE with one constitutional exception to the two-thirds rule.  We can’t let any more get by.  But tax-and-spenders keep trying and it’s getting worse every year.

In 2012, your HJTA worked on your behalf to block four amendments to repeal the two-thirds vote rule.  In 2013, we defeated seven anti-Prop. 13 constitutional amendments that would have killed the two-thirds vote protection for Bond Debt and Parcel Taxes.  In 2014, even though the anti-Prop. 13 coalition itself had supermajorities in both the Senate and Assembly; we defeated seven constitutional amendments again.  (The Assembly managed to pass one of them, but we killed it at the Senate.)

Every year, the tax-and-spenders intensify their war on Proposition 13.  With your HJTA member help, we’re holding the line in Sacramento plus we’re also keeping the Tax Revolt alive at the local level informing and mobilizing taxpayers to protect their pocketbooks and Prop. 13. Plus, your HJTA Office of Legal Affairs continues to build on your Proposition 13 tax savings by winning precedent-setting legal cases, all the way up to the California Supreme Court.

For 37 years, you and your fellow HJTA members have won many battles to protect Proposition 13, which has saved California taxpayers over $528 BILLION!  And when you add in other HJTA victories, the average California family of four has saved more than $60,000 as a direct result of the activities of Howard Jarvis and your HJTA!

Today, all that is threatened by Constitutional Amendments to repeal the two-thirds rule.  We’ll see action on this legislation in the coming weeks so we need the support of all dues-paying HJTA members right now!

HJTA is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.  Howard would never accept any money from the government or any special-interest group and neither will I.  We fight on your behalf and we win only thanks to the voluntary dues and special donations provided by you and all of our loyal members.

I urge you, right now, to renew or begin your membership in the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for 2015-2016.  Yes, we ask for contributions for specific projects from time to time, but your membership dues are what help keep our organization going throughout the year.

Given the imminent threat of Parcel taxes and Bond Debt, I hope you’ll consider stepping up to our Lifetime Member Membership with $1,000 annual dues.  If that’s difficult, your renewal of an HJTA Platinum Member with annual dues of $750 will be deeply appreciated.  That’s all I really ask and expect from you today.

The truth is, without your ongoing membership support, I fear that the pro-taxers will finally succeed in destroying everything that you and I and HJTA have built.  Please complete your 2015-2016 Statement of Membership and return it to me with your dues of $750 or $1,000 today.  On the next page, you’ll find a special application to speed your reply.

Your membership in the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is a monument to the fighting spirit of Howard Jarvis and a message to big-spending politicians – “Hands Off Proposition 13!” 

P.S.  I hope my article has explained why a Lifetime member Membership makes good sense given the threat of Parcel taxes and Bond Debt that double your total property taxes.  But by simply joining now, you make it possible for us to continue to protect you and Proposition 13.

Written by Jon Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayer’s rights.