“Reforming Proposition 13 is a daunting prospect. The most obvious and rational reform simply involves reassessing nonresidential property at market value, which, in 2008, would have raised six to eight billion dollars for cities, counties, and schools. Not only would it have relieved major financial burdens of local government, but it would improved infrastructure, land use, and likely local permitting and siting processes, which have been a barrier to new development. Rational though it may be, no one has yet taken such a proposal to the ballot, because it would face many millions of dollars in opposition from current (nonresidential Ed.) property holders who avoid billions in taxes with the present dysfunctional system.”
“. . .”
“In sum, voters got much more than they expected with Proposition 13. They expected property tax relief in a time of budget surplus. Instead, what they got was a stalemated government centralized in Sacramento at the expense of local governance and run more heavily than ever by the initiative process, and a steadily degraded public sector. The prospect with government is never ‘doom and disaster’ all at once, as some opponents of Proposition 13 predicted. Rather, it is the long-germ deterioration of the public sector such that expectations are lowered, the possibilities for improvements are stifled, and the opportunities for an aroused polity are few.”
Pages 58 and 59, Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, (ed. R. Jeffrey Lustig) ISBN 978-1-59714-134-5, Heyday Books, San Francisco, 2010.
Yeah. Amen. Or something.
Note: California Crack-up is the other book about why CA is in trouble and what could be done about it.