Amending Proposition 13 to assess commercial properties differently than residential property would not just raise more money for cash-strapped California, it would also address the inherent unfairness in the 31-year old initiative.
Corporate property owners have gotten increasingly sophisticated in the legal mechanisms they use to mask or avoid reporting changes of ownership of their commercial lands, and those tactics result in the loss of several million dollars of tax revenue to Sonoma County every year, says Chief Deputy Assessor Bill Rousseau (right) . He advocates legislation to rein in those maneuvers.
Business interests and other defenders of Proposition 13 often assert that changing the way commercial properties are assessed would lead to increases costs for small businesses. But San Francisco Assessor Phil Ting notes that the same logic has not seemed to apply to the savings that commercial landowners have been reaping from their underassessed properties.
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