Readers React: Proposition 13’s gift to commercial property owners


To the editor: Columnist Conor Friedersdorf touched on the topic of commercial parcels but quickly switched subjects in his Proposition 13 tax revolt discussion. He didn’t dare reveal the hidden Prop. 13 provision that allows commercial/industrial property to avoid assessment when the property is sold.

A Prop.13 loophole stipulated that if less than half of the property value is sold to a new owner, the transaction will not trigger (avoids) a property tax reassessment. Ergo, ownership of most commercial/industrial holdings are divided between three or more investors. They always limit sales to less than half of the ownership, avoiding property tax increases year after year for decades.

That ploy shifted the property tax burden to residential property. Before, Prop.13 residential owners bore about 55% of the total property tax burden Today, they bear more than 70% while commercial property owners share less than 30%


It’s high time for those commercial/industrial properties to be reassessed to current market value and the fractional exemption should be eliminated.

James Clark, Torrance

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