Readers React: Give seniors who want to move a break from higher property taxes by passing Prop. 5

For-sale signs line a residential street in Adelanto in 2009.
For-sale signs line a residential street in Adelanto in 2009.
(Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: If you examine in depth David Dayen’s assertion that “older homeowners already get a special property tax dispensation if they move,” you will find that there are significant restrictions.

Yes, homeowners age 55 or older may transfer their current property tax when they purchase another home (of equal or lesser value) within the same California county. But Proposition 90, passed in 1988, allows such a transfer when the homeowner moves to a different county only if that county agrees to accept it. Currently, only 11 (and soon to be 10) of California’s 58 counties accept these “base year value” transfers.

When I recently retired after 36 years as a public school teacher, my spouse and I discussed selling our small condo and moving to the Sacramento area, where we could afford a modest ranch house. However, the counties of that region do not accept Proposition 90 transfers.


If Proposition 5 fails in November, we will not be moving at all. We simply cannot afford to pay more in property tax.

Ryan Wilson, Cerritos


To the editor: I read with interest Dayen’s essay concluding that property tax protection favors older homeowners, and that this is a bad thing. For me, an older homeowner, Proposition 13 has been a lifesaver.

I worked for more than four decades at a job I loved until my employer decided that a younger, cheaper person could do the work. I would have happily worked longer. During my career I bought a house on which I have since paid property taxes for 34 years.

I have a lovely home that I have nurtured and cared for. My children grew up here, and I don’t want to leave. However, it takes several months of my Social Security income just to cover the property taxes. Without Proposition 13, I’d have to sell my home because I live in a neighborhood I can “no longer afford.”


I propose that unless you are excessively wealthy, you should no longer have to pay property taxes on your primary residence after age 70.

Patricia LoVerme, South Pasadena

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