Sunday, February 23, 2020

Higher taxes on farmers means higher prices for food for all of us. Vote NO on the “split roll” tax proposal, which is planned for your *November* ballot.



...The 2020 ballot initiative misleadingly called the “California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020,” known more commonly as the “split-roll” tax initiative, would reassess properties and hike taxes on all commercial and industrial properties, including manufacturing plants, retail stores and malls.

The split-roll property tax measure will also remove Prop 13’s protections for California farmers, triggering annual reassessments at market value for all agriculture-related facilities and improvements.

This amounts to a $12.5 billion-a-year split-roll property tax measure, and is backed by the state’s major labor unions, the SEIU, and California Teachers Association chief among them with its $6 million in contributions toward the effort.

Oddly, Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Title and Summary makes a blanket statement that agriculture is exempted in the split roll initiative. But that is not true.

But it’s for the children…

This is particularly self-serving and devious for counties, which are in desperate need of new sources of revenue for unfunded public employee pension obligations. And it is potentially damaging to the state economy, because under the 1978 Proposition 13 ballot initiative, agriculture properties were not considered commercial or industrial.

Under the split roll ballot initiative to split residential and commercial/industrial properties, tax increase proponents recently admitted that they will redefine commercial and industrial structures to include barns, food processing structures for eggs, broccoli, citrus, lettuces, wineries, almonds, and just about anything that grows in the ground and that Californians and the rest of the country eats....

California ranks relatively high in property tax rankings, 17th out of the 50 states, even with Prop. 13. California also ranks right up at the top of the 50 states in nearly all taxing categories: income taxes, corporate taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, wealth taxes, utility taxes… and lawmakers are looking at imposing estate taxes and even exit taxes for people trying to move out of California.

Wednesday, warning that an initiative on property taxes threatens harm to rural communities, the California Farm Bureau Federation voted to oppose it. CFBF President Jamie Johansson said measures that increase costs for family farmers and ranchers undermine their ability to supply jobs, especially in rural California, and their ability to supply food and farm products for customers in California and worldwide.

Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable and co-chair of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes said, “Whether on a tree or vine, at a dairy or at a processing facility, every fresh fruit, vegetable and gallon of milk we buy at the grocery store will cost more under this property tax initiative. At a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet and provide healthy, farm-to-fork options for their families, we simply cannot afford the largest property tax increase in California history.”