Heading into the June 8 elections, voters must be aware of the following facts:
* This new Prop. 13 initiative, in addition to continuing to limit property tax increases, provides that construction to seismically retrofit buildings will not trigger reassessment of property tax value. It sets state-wide standards for seismic retrofit improvements that qualify. Its fiscal impact includes minor reductions in local property tax revenues related to the assessment of earthquake upgrades.
* A “yes” vote on this measure means that earthquake safety improvements made to reinforced masonry (e.g., brick) buildings would not result in higher property taxes until the building is sold.
* A ” no” vote on this measure means that earthquake safety improvements made to unreinforced masonry buildings would continue to be excluded from property taxes but for only up to 15 years.
Those who are advocates for Prop. 13 point out that it makes a needed change to the California State Constitution in order to eliminate a dangerous disincentive for property owners to upgrade unreinforced masonry structures in order to improve earthquake safety. In the view of its supporters, Prop. 13 promotes fairness by eliminating the unequal treatment of different types of property which undergo seismic safety improvements.