LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to use a speech at the Sacramento Press Club today to recommend changes to Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that placed strict limits on property taxes.

Villaraigosa declined Monday to give any details about the speech, other than to say, “I’m going to address more than just Prop. 13,” specifically citing funding for elementary and secondary schools and the state’s universities and colleges.

Villaraigosa told Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez in July that he was considering calling for changes to Proposition 13 that would initially address commercial property taxes, then later deal with residential taxes.

“It’s been our understanding (Villaraigosa) wants to commence a war on Prop. 13,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an anti-tax group named for a co-author of Proposition 13.

Coupal sent a letter to Villaraigosa asking him to meet with his group or debate him on the subject during his visit to Sacramento. He said he has not received a response.

It would not be very surprising if Villaraigosa proposed some kind of a split roll, with different laws for taxing business and residential properties, said Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies.

“If he took on the entire Prop. 13 (in his speech), that would be big news,” Stern said.
Coupal said he would throw “significant resources” at any effort to change Proposition 13 and doubted even a split roll would have much success.

Polls have consistently shown strong support for Proposition 13.

San Francisco County Assessor Recorder Phil Ting failed to obtain enough signatures in 2009 for an initiative that would have created a split roll.

Any changes to Proposition 13 would have to be placed on a ballot by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature or by an initiative and approved by voters.

The trip will be Villaraigosa’s sixth outside Southern California since mid-June.

Villaraigosa was in Baltimore and Washington June 17-20 for a four-day meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; in Chicago and Aspen, Colo., June 30-July 3 for a Clinton Global Initiative America meeting and the Aspen Ideas Festival; in San Francisco July 14 to speak to a group of lawyers supporting gun control and meet with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board and former Mayor Willie Brown; in Washington July 21 to testify before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in Washington on behalf of a transportation bill; and on vacation in Iceland July 26-Aug 2.