Supplemental Property Tax

The governor’s chief of staff, Steven A. Merksamer, contended in an article (Editorial Pages, May 19) that the current Administration has not raised taxes since taking office in January of 1983. In fact, $400 million in new taxes is being taken out of the pockets of home buyers and expanding businesses each year through the new supplemental property tax, instigated by the governor in 1983.

As its name indicates, the supplemental property tax is an added tax on people buying real estate, whether homes or business property. At time of passage, the governor’s office attempted to define this new tax as simply an acceleration of tax payments. Everyone who has bought property in the last two years and received a supplemental tax bill knows that the contrary is true. For those buying an average-priced home that has not been sold since 1975 the supplemental bill is about $850. For all Los Angeles County property owners, the supplemental tax adds up to more than $100 million in additional taxes per year.

When the Legislature passed the supplemental property tax in 1983, it was needed to fund education reforms. The state budget was in the red, and there was no money available to fund those reforms. Today the situation is reversed. Those improvements in the education system are now funded by general revenues and the current $900 million surplus in the state’s general fund this year is proof that the supplemental tax is no longer required.

I hope that Merksamer, and the governor, will join in the effort to secure the repeal of the supplemental property tax. If that effort is successful, the claims of this Administration to have avoided higher taxes will have a much more firm foundation.




Los Angeles County