Proposition 15 would cause an increase in property taxes based on current market value, instead of the purchase price. The fiscal impact would be increased property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million providing $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion in new funding to local governments and schools.

A YES vote on this measure means property taxes on most commercial properties worth more than $3 million would go up in order to provide new funding to local governments and schools.

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A NO vote on this measure means property taxes on commercial properties would stay the same. Local governments and schools would not get new funding.


For decades, California’s system of limiting property tax increases has been deemed sacrosanct. The system tying taxes to the most recent purchase price now faces one of its biggest challenges.

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Since the 1978 ballot measure passed, sparking a national outcry for tax cuts and perhaps easing former Gov. Ronald Reagan’s path to the White House two years later, California has limited tax increases to 2% a year for inflation until a property is sold. With prices climbing at a much higher rate, taxpayers who have held homes and businesses for many years pay far less than what the market value would determine.

Proposition 15 on the Nov. 3 ballot would instead reassess commercial and industrial properties every three years, while residential property, including home-based businesses, would remain under 1978 rules.

Supporters say the “split-roll” system will go a long way toward fixing inequities that shield wealthy corporations from Disneyland to Hollywood studios, depriving property tax proceeds for public schools and local governments. Opponents call it a massive tax increase that will further cripple businesses in a pandemic-wracked economy.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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