We don’t know much about 1978, seeing as how we were not yet brought kicking and screaming into this world, but this much we do know — since Proposition 13 went active that year, property taxes in California have increased every year. Homeowners, taxpayers — time to party like it’s 1977.
According to City Controller Ben Rosenfield, property taxes in San Francisco will almost certainly drop — across the board, on condos, houses, illegal lofts and maybe even Golden Gate Park squats — for the first time in 31 years, at any currently unknown hit to the city’s tax base. This we do know — it won’t be good.
Property tax hikes are capped at 2% annually under Prop 13 whenever there’s an inflation in consumer prices. That figure is based on the CPI, or consumer price index, which has always been positive. Now, for the first time in Prop 13 history, there is estimated to be a NEGATIVE consumer price index. So Prop 13 will give some ease to property owners, above and beyond the 4,000 property-holders who have filed appeals of their properties’ tax assessments.
That in turn means a big, big hit to expected property tax revenues, long one of the city’s biggest moneymakers. Again, how big we don’t know, as “we haven’t yet seen the bottom” of how far property tax revenue will drop, Rosenfield said.
Those San Franciscans wishing to pay MORE property taxes will certainly be lauded as heroes, and may pick up your fee lollipops in Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting’s office.