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Why California homeowners should be grateful for Prop. 13

Why California homeowners should be grateful for Prop. 13
Howard Jarvis, chief sponsor of Proposition 13, signals victory as he casts his own vote at the Fairfax-Melrose precinct on June 6, 1978. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Michael Hiltzik's column about the problems with Proposition 13 raises valid points, but it never mentions why it was passed in the first place. ("Four decades later, California experts find that Proposition 13 is a boon to the rich," column, Sept. 30)

Before 1978, basing the amount of tax on the current appraised value of a home meant that people, including older people on fixed incomes, who had bought their homes years before had to come up with ever-increasing tax payments as property values rose. They had to pay theoretical values with real dollars. The many who couldn't keep up were taxed out of their homes.

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The state put collecting money ahead of human fairness, causing a voter revolt.

Mark Leinwand, Agoura Hills

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To the editor: I get nervous when I read someone wanting to test the waters on Proposition 13.

I'm sure billionaire investor Warren Buffet can handle his property taxes in California and elsewhere as he ponders the disparity between the two. But for many of us with homes here who are low income, Proposition13 has been a lifesaver.

When I get my tax bill, I see all the school taxes and other assessments I have to pay, and I doubt my renter friends even know about them. When I go to the ballot box and see the deserving measures that are to be paid for with property taxes, I wonder just how fair this is.

Proposition 13 helps far more people than just the wealthy. There are those of us still in our homes and paying the mortgages because of it.

Ron Nelson, Venice

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