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Proposition 13: An Alternative Reform

What is the “message” of Proposition 1 3? Everyone was invoking it this past summer to fill his sails, but what was really blowing in the wind?
Howard Jarvis had been fighting property taxation for a score of years with minimal success. Philip Watson, until recently more prominent, led two property tax limitation initiatives to defeat. All these prior efforts were tax shifts, not tax limitations. In fact, Proposition 1 3 answers the same description, because, although it limits property taxes severely, it places only frail and specious limitations on state sales taxes and especially on income taxes. California’s graduated income tax rate structure is not indexed so that it automatically takes a bigger share each year with inflation. But, those are only facts, and this is California. The image of Proposition 13 was that of overall tax limitation, and there may lie the difference.
The Center Magazine, Sta. Barbara, Nov./Dec. 1978, pp. 19-28.

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