Prop 15, aimed at raising taxes on commercial properties, is dead

About 52% of voters statewide rejected measure following costly industry campaign against it

Los Angeles /
Nov.November 11, 2020 09:00 AM
Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles

Proposition 15, the statewide ballot initiative that would have raised taxes on large commercial property owners, has been defeated.

Unofficial results from election night showed voters had rejected the measure. A week into counting, there are likely not enough ballots remaining to change that outcome, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing the Associated Press’ tally.

The vote count will be certified in early December. The current results show 51.8 percent of voters casting votes against the measure, or about 8.1 million people.  About 7.5 million voters were in favor of it.

Had it passed, Prop 15 would have reversed Prop 13, a ballot measure passed in 1978 that “froze” commercial and residential property taxes. Assessments are only conducted in the event of a sale under that measure.

Prop 15 would have required commercial property owners to pay taxes based on their property’s fair market value. The measure would have left residential property taxes frozen.

Prop 15’s backers argued that the owners of large commercial properties don’t need the protections afforded by Prop 13. An independent assessment of Prop 15 found it could have generated $11.5 billion in tax revenue annually for the state.

Opponents, which included the state’s most powerful real estate lobbies, argued that the measure would have hurt small businesses and large property owners like farmers, although the measure did have cutouts for small businesses. Opponent spent about $75 million to defeat the measure, while supporters spent nearly as much: $68 million. [LAT]Dennis Lynch


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