California authorities are trying to impose a new property tax. Newspaper reports show that, Californians have rejected the proposal so officials are “camouflaging” the initiative to present it to the public with a positive twist.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is pushing the proposal that could raise billions of dollars from taxpayers each year, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune.
In a column, the California newspaper’s Editorial Board detailed that the new tax requires commercial and industrial properties to be taxed at their current value, ending the protection of so-called Proposition 13 that property taxes cannot increase more than 2% each year.
A One America News Network (OANN) report states the initiative, led by Attorney General Becerra, has the support of union leaders and could raise about $12.5 billion from taxpayers.
The proposal only excludes the lower end of small businesses.
The new taxes would reassess property values every three years.
“We’re really disappointed with the attorney general,” said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, quoted by San Francisco Chronicle.
The state has a property tax law that “saved” home and business owners over the past 40 years, OANN says.
In its report, OANN adds that residents have been saying for years that they refuse to change this tax and, according to experts, any legislature that tries to do so “will pay the final price at the polls.”
Beyond the extraordinary increase in the tax, the proposal has received strong criticism for how it is presented to the public.
Indeed, the summary of the ballot, which should be put to a citizen vote, focuses on the benefits that the “change” in property taxes will bring to public schools, community colleges, and local governments, details The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“One of the biggest state tax hikes in history shouldn’t be downplayed as a tax “change,” said The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“Becerra should be ashamed—and his office should be stripped of ballot summary duties in perpetuity. But first someone should sue over this new abuse of power.
OANN journalist Pearson Sharp points out that the attorney general “is using some sort of deceptive language to confuse voters into supporting this measure.”
“Residents strongly disapprove of any measure to amend Prop. 13,” Sharp notes, arguing that for that reason Attorney General Becerra now uses “a friendlier name” to ‘mask’ the tax hike.
“It is clear that Becerra is trying to deceive Californians once again because when voters were first told how Prop. 13 would be changed, they overwhelmingly refused to support it,” he said.
Many experts—the OANN report points out—have affirmed that Becerra has betrayed public trust.
They also say that the California Board roundtable should not leave Becerra in charge of writing the titles and summaries of these initiatives.
“These are especially important since they are often the only thing voters look at before casting their vote,” Sharp says, warning that the proposals are being presented “with a misleading description.”