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Letters to the Editor: How Prop. 13 reform will kill off your local dry cleaner or cafe

Howard Jarvis
Howard Jarvis, chief sponsor of Proposition 13, signals victory as he casts his vote in Los Angeles on June 6, 1978.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Jacques Leslie is absolutely incorrect that “the owners of your local café and dry cleaners will probably be unscathed” by Proposition 15, the November ballot initiative that would repeal part of Proposition 13’s tax protections for commercial and industrial property. (“This reform of Proposition 13 is needed now more than ever,” Opinion, July 16)

Most retail tenants are on what are known as triple-net leases, where in addition to paying their rent, tenants reimburse the landlord for their share of operating expenses. That includes property taxes.

If Proposition 15 passes, landlords will, as is permitted by leases, pass along the increased property tax payments to the tenants. While Proposition 15 seems to be an attempt to soak rich landlords, it will only make operations harder and more expensive for small businesses.

Michael Tanner, Los Angeles

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To the editor: While I support some reform of taxation for commercial and industrial property, I think Proposition 15 goes too far.

A one-time reassessment seems more appropriate to me. After that, property taxes should be limited to a 2% increase per year.

We should not want to drive large businesses out of California, and Proposition 15 may do just that. We don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

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Paul Andersen, Yorba Linda

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To the editor: I strongly disagree with Leslie. I run one of the small businesses that would be hurt by allowing taxes to be raised on commercial properties via Proposition 15.

I have an art studio in a Monrovia industrial business strip. If my landlord’s property taxes are raised (which they would be under Proposition 15), I can guarantee you that my studio rent — and the rent of all the small businesses clustered around me — will increase dramatically, something none of us can afford.

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Please vote no on Proposition 15 at a time we cannot afford to lose any small businesses in California.

William Stout, Pasadena


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