Gov. Brown blames Prop. 13 for state's money problems
(CBS 8) - It's commonly referred to as the "third rail" of California politics. Voters approved the state's property tax law back in 1978, when Jerry Brown was in his first term as governor. Now, three decades later, Brown is governor again and still opposed to the controversial measure.
The state is facing a projected deficit of $28 billion. The governor needs more money, which has some fearing Prop. 13 may not be safe.
With the state budget on shaky ground, the new governor is trying to keep his footing. So will Sacramento try to end California's most popular tax break?
Governor Jerry Brown already mentioned it not even 24 hours after being sworn into office.
Richard Rider from San Diego Tax Fighters believes there's no way voters will ever let the governor repeal prop 13.
"Our job as voters is to provide what I call adult supervision, to say that's not how you're going to solve the problem. We have to close the taxpayer window to further tax increases," Ryder said.
Prop.13 passed in 1978, and is credited with keeping many Californians, especially seniors, in their homes by limiting how much their property taxes can rise in any given year. If you bought your home in 2005 for the median price of $548,000, Prop. 13 has already saved you nearly $18,000.
And if you've lived in the same house since 1980, when the median home price was just under $100,000, Prop. 13 saved you more than $120,000.
News 8 political analyst Carl Luna believes the governor has a different trick up his sleeve.
"He's a clever politician," Luna said.
Luna believes Governor Brown will return many government functions currently handled by the state back to local cities and counties.
"When you hear local control, we can vote on it and the local city hall and board of supervisors, people like that. When you hear grandma's property taxes may be going up, you're not going to like it as much," Luna said.
But remember, Jerry Brown just spent eight years as mayor of Oakland and knows cities can only bend so far financially before breaking.
The Governor is expected to release his new budget on Monday.
"I know it sounds complicated, but it will become clearer," Gov. Brown said.
A spokesman for the governor told News 8 raising property taxes is "not on the governor's radar". We'll find out what is on the governor's radar next week when we get our first look at the proposed budget.