Santa Cruz Sentinel | Editorial Board, October 23, 2020

Proposition 19 on the Nov. 3 ballot is another do-over measure and another one that monkeys with property taxes. Two years ago, voters rejected a similar proposition that would have given older California homeowners a major property tax break when they bought a new home. But that measure didn’t close a tax break on inherited properties, a shortcoming that would have cost local jurisdictions billions of dollars.

Prop. 19 closes that loophole, but still provides the tax break on buying a new home for Californians over the age of 55.

As the tax law stands, if you buy a new home in this state, your taxes are based on the assessed value of the new home. But if you sold an existing home before buying the new one, you were probably paying significantly less in property taxes on the first one, since Proposition 13 limits the amount those taxes can go up every year to 2% annually.

So you might not want to sell that home you’ve owned for decades, because the taxes on the new home would be, according to current market values, much higher than what you were paying.

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