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Jon Coupal


Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Notwithstanding California’s leftward drift, Prop 13 remains remarkably popular. Indeed, polling suggests that if Prop 13 were on the ballot today, it would pass by about the same two-thirds margin that it did in 1978. But the enduring embrace of this landmark measure by California homeowners is a huge irritant to those who want ever more taxpayer dollars.

For 37 years, detractors have made a parlor game of criticizing Prop 13. Our favorite is blaming Prop 13 for the acquittal of O.J. Simpson. The latest salvo is that Prop 13 is to blame, at least in part, for California’s housing crisis.

A recent study by Chris Thornberg, head of Beacon Economics, reviews the depth of the crisis and attempts to identify its causes. There is a lot of compelling data in the study which amply demonstrates how severe the crisis is. He points out that 53 percent of households earning between $35,000 and $75,000 per year spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, while nationally, only 31 percent find themselves in this predicament. For homeowners, the figure is even worse, with more than two-thirds spending more than 30 percent of their income on mortgage payments, compared to 40 percent nationwide.

To read the entire column click here: