HomeLettersBallot Measure to Repeal ‘Death Tax’ Needs Support

Ballot Measure to Repeal ‘Death Tax’ Needs Support

I have a very important, time-sensitive topic involving housing/homeownership here in California that every Burbank resident would be deeply interested in. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (the nonprofit responsible for Proposition 13) needs more signatures to repeal the death tax, Proposition 19, and get the initiative on the ballot.

Proposition 19, which passed by 51% in 2020, has effectively eliminated the ability of a person to leave a low tax assessment to heirs. This is the most underreported story despite its negative impact on nearly every Californian.

Families of all income levels are facing the loss of their Property 13 inheritance due to this “death tax.” In short, Proposition 19 is a death tax on property that essentially robs your family of generational wealth. Proposition 19 is a huge departure from old California law (such as Proposition 58 and Proposition 193). Proposition 19 was driven by the Realtor’s Association in a multimillion dollar effort to make inheriting homes so unaffordable that heirs are forced to sell.

This is because any inherited home valued even a dollar more than $1 million will trigger property tax reassessment at current market values. In other words, when a family member passes away, his or her children will be left with a new, drastic and unaffordable property tax increase. This tax hike can apply if you inherit property, and unfortunately, no trust or will can protect you from the adverse effects of Proposition 19. The initiative continues to add to the unaffordable housing crisis in America.

Proposition 19 was written in a very clever and deceptive way. Proposition 19 marketed itself as assistance for the elderly (those 55 and older) and wildfire victims. However, Proposition 19 proponents conveniently failed to emphasize that families could lose their Proposition 13 inheritance rights.

We’re not just talking about high-net-worth families when it comes to “inheritance” or “generational wealth.” We are talking about average, blue-collar Californians, generational homeowners, and small business owners.

The new “Repeal the Death Tax” initiative does not alter the provisions on wildfire victims and relocation of seniors. But it does rectify the massive property tax increase on families inheriting property. Specifically, the initiative aims to reinstate the ability of parents to pass down their property without triggering a [property tax increase based on] reassessment of market value.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association needs enough signatures by Feb. 5 in order for the initiative (repealing Proposition 19 by reinstating Proposition 58 and Proposition 193) to have a shot at making the 2024 ballot.

Reform California is for the repeal of Proposition 19 as well. Reform California writes: “Repealing the death tax will help lower property taxes, save generational properties, and give grieving families more peace of mind.”

Kaley Farr


First published in the January 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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