SPECIAL REPORT / ELECTION PREVIEW : DECISION '94 / A Voter's Guide to State and Local Elections : Propositions : PROP. 177

What it is: This measure would exempt from property taxation any building improvements that would make access easier for disabled people. Such improvements would not be classified as new construction, which under Proposition 13 calls for reassessing the property's value and thus payment of higher property taxes. State law already allows this exemption for owner-occupied buildings. Proposition 177 would extend the exemption to most commercial buildings open to the public.

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Arguments for: The exemption would encourage more owners of property such as apartments, restaurants, hotels and stores to make the necessary alterations to help disabled people gain access to and more easily use public accommodations.

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Arguments against: Passage of this measure would amount to a piecemeal approach in addressing the unfairness in property taxation brought about by Proposition 13.

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Who supports it: Head of the California Assn. of Persons With Handicaps, an officer of the California State Council of Laborers and Assemblyman Dan Hauser (D-Arcata).

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Who opposes it: Gary B. Wesley, San Jose attorney.

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