Letters to the Editor: Surprise, ballot box property tax assessment isn’t working out
To the editor: The Times notes its investigation that brought public attention to wealthy landowners passing on their property tax base to their children. Not mentioned in the subsequent outcry by media outlets was that for many, if not most, California homeowners, the only way to build generational wealth is through the family home. (“Older homeowners face hefty tax bills as L.A. County struggles to implement 2020 tax law,” March 9)
Our children can’t afford to buy a home in the towns where they grew up without some assistance, and passing that tax base on through inheritance or title transfer is one way for parents to help.
Let’s be real: No one, whether rich celebrity or poor retiree, who has owned a home for decades is responsible for the increased cost of homes in California. We bought at a price we could afford, made our payments even when it was difficult, and paid the constantly increasing property taxes.
Now the state asks our children to assume responsibility for today’s outrageous prices, which they had nothing to do with, and pay the inflated property taxes if they do not move into the homes within a year.
My home is now allegedly worth more than five times what I paid for it 30 years ago. That isn’t real money until it’s sold, and it’s certainly more than any of my children could afford to pay. Yet if they inherit it as the one asset I have, the annual property taxes could keep them from holding onto it.
It’s bad enough that homes are so overpriced. Allowing unwieldy taxes to gut the value of the only assets many Californians can pass on to their children, simply because voters thought that some people didn’t deserve it, is like a boot to the backside.
Laura Monteros, Altadena
To the editor: I read the article about seniors facing hefty property tax bills that they did not expect.
If I was the woman facing the $15,000 tax bill, I wouldn’t pay it and would let the county confiscate my home and have the police evict me. Then I would sue the county for illegally taking my property.
What jury would not give a multimillion-dollar judgment for kicking an old woman out of her house and selling it for nonpayment of property taxes that she does not really owe?
Linda Fitak, Northridge