Letter to the Editor: Resident Wants Your Help on Placing Ballot Measure


Letter to the Editor:

 I have a very important, time-sensitive topic involving housing/ homeownership here in California that I believe you and every Burbanker/Burbankian would be deeply interested in (as this impacts nearly every person residing in California). The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (the nonprofit responsible for Prop13) needs more signatures postmarked by 2/5/24 in order to repeal the death tax (Prop19) and get the initiative on the 2024 ballot. As you may recall, Prop19 (which narrowly passed by 51% in 2020) has effectively eliminated the ability of a parent/grandparent to leave a low tax assessment to a child/grandchild of any age. This is the most underreported story despite it negatively impacting nearly every Californian. I have been a Burbanker my whole life (over 35 years), and my family has resided in Burbank since the 70s. This is an issue that is very important to me, and it should hold importance to our entire community as well. It’s no surprise, but many longtime Burbankers can no longer afford to stay in the city they grew up in, and Prop19 unfortunately diminishes any remaining hope of their ability to reside here. It is my hope that My Burbank News can utilize its connectivity and platform (website, social media, newsletter, email, etc.) to spread the word that signatures are needed to repeal Prop19, and that it would be in every Burbanker/Burbankian’s best interest to do so (signature forms/link and promotional flyers are posted below). 

Families of all income levels are currently facing the loss of their Prop13 inheritance due to this “death tax.” In short, Prop19 is a Death Tax on property that essentially robs your family of the generational wealth (i.e., the value put towards your home and business) which you have worked so hard to build. Prop19 narrowly passed in 2020, and it ultimately is a huge departure from old California law (such as Prop58 and Prop193). Prop19 was driven by the Realtor’s Association in a $57 million dollar effort to make inheriting homes so unaffordable that we (i.e., you / your children) would be forced to sell. This is because any inherited home valued over $1 million will trigger property tax reassessment at current market values. In other words, when a parent (or grandparent) passes away, his/her children will be left with a new, drastic and unaffordable property tax increase! This tax hike can apply if you inherit or if your children inherit, and unfortunately, no Trust or Will can protect you or your children from the adverse effects of Prop19.  Prop19 continues to add to the unaffordable housing crisis in America. Prop19 narrowly passed in 2020 because it was complex, confusing, convoluted, and written in a very clever and deceptive way. Prop19 marketed itself as assistance for the elderly (those 55 and older) and wildfire victims. However, Prop19 conveniently failed to emphasize that families could lose their Prop13 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 home owners, and small business owners. Renters are also negatively impacted as these sudden, unaffordable property tax hikes on inherited family-owned apartment buildings can lead to higher rents or even eviction when the landlord passes away. Cunningly, Prop19 was worded in a way that put a far more acceptable issue up front, but it failed to state the catastrophic change it would ultimately bring to nearly every California property owner. Not only does this impact virtually anyone inheriting/ residing in California, it adds to the unaffordable, ongoing housing crisis in America. 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 dealing with the loss of a parent. Specifically, the initiative aims to reinstate the ability of parents to pass down their homes and certain properties to their children without triggering a reassessment of market value.

The Los Angeles County assessor, Jeff Prang, has become one of the biggest proponents of fixing Prop19, testifying that we should restore protections on inherited family homes and businesses in order to keep things in California more affordable. San Diego’s county assessor –Jordan Marks–agrees, stating that we “have lot of communities that can’t afford to stay in the same place, and that’s leading to gentrification in many ways. And so, we’re seeing these communities be broken up because they can’t afford the increased property taxes” (https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2024-01-24/opinion-proposition-19-property-taxes-housing-crisis-affordability-california). 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association desperately needs enough signatures by Feb. 5, 2024  (postmarked) in order for the initiative (that is, repealing Prop19 by reinstating Prop58 and Prop193) to have a shot at making the 2024 ballot. Reform California (another grassroots movement) is for the repeal of Prop19 as well. According to Reform Califorina, “repealing the Death Tax will help lower property taxes, save generational properties, and give grieving families more peace of mind” (https://reformcalifornia.org/news/reform-ca-backs-signature-drive-to-repeal-prop-19-death-tax ).

If possible, please utilize your platform (post on your website, connect to the community, send out a newsletter, etc) in order to spread the word that we need signatures (postmarked) by 2/5/24. Everyone can download, print, sign, and collect signatures here: https://reinstate58.hjta.org/ .  I have also attached the information / signature forms in this email for your convenience. It is important to note that the repeal of Prop19 will only eliminate the harmful inheriting requirements related to the measure (both seniors and wildfire victims will be able to maintain their Prop19 “perks”). Moreover, the repeal is not a “get out of jail free card” for the wealthy. The repeal put forth by HJTA will only exempt one primary residence (no $1 million cap) and up to $1 million worth in certain properties. This is done in order to help both generationtional homeowners and small businesses; everything above that is subjected for reassessment. 

 The initiative needs promotion ASAP. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Kaley Farr 


Editor’s Note: We were not able to include the attachments, but they can be found HERE

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