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Prop 19 in California: Housing relief, tax savings, school funding and more

By Anthony SanFilippo
July 2020

Everyone understands the necessity of property taxes, but that doesn’t mean everyone can afford to pay them, especially when they are escalating faster than income levels can keep up.

This is especially true for seniors on a fixed income, individuals with physical limitations, some middle-income and other lower-income families as well as victims of natural disasters and wildfires.

In California, voters will have the opportunity to help those in need and at the same time generate millions of dollars in funding for fire districts, school districts, and helping city and county governments balance budgets all while assisting the states economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with long-term revenue of more than $1 billion annually.

On the ballot this Election Day will be Proposition 19, also known as the Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families, and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act.

This measure is co-sponsored by the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and the California Professional Firefighters and has bipartisan support as well as the backing of Democrats, Republican seniors, wildfire victims, local governments, schools, labor, business and community organizations.

According to CAR President Jeanne Radsick in a June President’s message to members, Proposition 19 “…strengthens the provisions we care most about and incorporates dedicated funding for fire protection and emergency response to safeguard millions of lives in communities across the state. The new initiative will continue to expand Proposition 13 property tax portability for all homeowners over 55 years old, people with severe disabilities, and wildfire victims by removing unfair location and cost restrictions to allow homeowners to move anywhere in the state.”

Specifically, the measure has several key provisions according to the campaign’s website:

Limits Property Tax Increases on Primary Residences for Seniors, People with Severe Disabilities, Families, and Wildfire and Natural Disaster Victims

  • Limits property tax increases on primary residences for homeowners over 55 years old, people with severe disabilities, and victims of natural disasters or wildfires by removing unfair location restrictions for people who may need to move closer to family or medical care, downsize, or find a home that better fits their needs.
  • Limits property tax increases on family homes used as a primary residence by protecting the right of parents and grandparents to pass on their family home to their children and grandchildren for continued use as a primary residence.
  • Opens up tens of thousands of housing opportunities to make homes more readily available for first-time homeowners, families, and Californians throughout the state.

Supports Life-Saving Fire & Emergency Response

  • Secures dedicated funding for fire response across California, protecting millions of homes and lives.
  • Creates a historic Fire Response Fund providing needed revenue for fire protection and response including tens of millions of dollars in dedicated funding each year for historically underfunded fire districts in rural and urban communities.
  • Ensures supplemental funding to CalFire in support of California’s wildfire response to protect millions of residents throughout the state.

Generates Hundreds of Millions of Annual Funding for Fire Protection, Local Government and School Districts

  • Generates new revenues for fire protection, local government, and school districts that can be used for vital resident services such as emergency response, housing, homeless, or health care programs by closing loopholes often used by celebrities, wealthy non- California residents, and trust fund heirs to avoid paying a fair share of property taxes on vacation homes, income properties, and beachfront rentals they own in California.
  • Helps cities, counties and school districts balance budgets and provides a boost to our state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with long-term revenue of over $1 billion annually.
  • Provides local revenue for counties, cities, and special districts, and establishes a county offset fund, providing additional revenue protection year in and year out.

Supports California’s Family Farms

  • Provide added tax relief for California’s family owned farms and ranches. The additional tax savings for a farmer or rancher will help protect generational farming.

The campaign has created a website where even more information on Prop 19 is provided.


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