Archived: EDITORIAL: So Gov. Brown May Take on Prop. 13

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Governor Brown’s blaming of Proposition 13 for much of the funding problems faced by cities and counties may be right, but the message delivered by California’s voters in approving Prop. 13 is not what most people in government think it was or is.

Prop. 13 has become the third rail of California politics because it is one of the few ways residents of this state feel they can keep government from over-taxing their property.

Last November, voters approved additional limits on taxes at times disguised as fees.

Many of those fees are already attached to property tax assessments, substantially adding to the amount of taxes due over what is allowed under Prop. 13.

It just doesn’t seem to penetrate Sacramento’s rarefied air that the state’s high unemployment rate and the state’s high mortgage foreclosure problem already have Californian’s struggling to stay afloat.

On the foreclosure front, the state’s legislature and the attorney general’s office have so far done very little to force mortgage lenders to deal fairly with homeowners facing foreclosure, or to make whole or return families to homes unfairly and fraudulently taken by their lenders.

While it may seem that things are getting better in some areas, a lot of the state’s taxpayers are still struggling to get by, and they are angered by what they see as a lot of special deals being made that are leaving them farther behind.

Without significant advances on this front, we believe the state’s voters, particularly those that own property, will be in no mood to raise taxes.

We are impressed, however, by Gov. Brown’s tough talk on the need for austerity in government spending and hiring and pensions, but we were impressed by Gov. Schwarzenegger’s promise to cut spending and shrink government, and you see how far that got us.

So Gov. Brown, please don’t blame the state’s taxpayers for being leery that real change is on the horizon. That horizon may turn out to actually be a mirage.

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