Prop 15, the Split-Roll, Is a Job Killer

Last Updated: September 30, 2020By

Prop 15, the Split-Roll, Is a Job Killer

By Jack Humphreville, L.A. Watchdog for CityWatch

Proposition 15 is an attempt by the state’s public sector unions (along with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) to establish the Split-Roll. Under this amended system, commercial and industrial properties will be assessed at their current market value as opposed to the current practice that is based on the purchase price plus an inflation factor not to exceed 2%.  The Split-Roll is expected to generate $12 billion statewide in additional revenue for local governments and school districts.

In the City of Los Angeles, the owners of commercial and industrial properties will pass this added tax/expense of $1.43 billion onto their tenants, including, among others, small businesses; grocery stores; restaurants and fast food joints; gas stations; pharmacies; retailers; doctors, dentists, and other professionals; plumbers, electricians, and other service providers; and the few manufacturers that are left in the City.  These tenants will then pass along their increased rents by raising the prices of goods and services, nickel and diming us to death. 

In essence, these incremental costs are no different from a regressive sales tax, a tax that the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the major supporters of the Split-Roll, vehemently oppose.  While the $1.43 billion increase is the equivalent of a 2.5% bump in our sales tax or a 22% rise in our property taxes, it is a 75% (yes, 75%) increase in the property taxes on commercial and industrial properties.  This assumes that almost 30% of the $12 billion tax increase will be shouldered by the owners of the County’s $466 billion of commercial and industrial properties ($3.58 billion) and then allocating 40% to City properties. 

Like a 2.5% increase in our sales tax or a 22% increase in our property taxes, a 75% increase in the property taxes for commercial and industrial properties would be overwhelmingly rejected by the voters, especially when the voters realize that these new costs would be passed through to the general population. California, with all its rules, regulations, and hostile work environment for employers, is the most business unfriendly state in the country. The Split-Roll and the job killing 75% increase in the real estate taxes on commercial and industrial properties will only strengthen the belief that California is not open for businesses, large and small, that create good middle class jobs for millions of Angelenos and Californians. 

VOTE NO on Proposition 15.  Protect Proposition 13.

[Note: This is the second in a series of articles on efforts to amend and dilute Proposition 13, a landmark measure that continues to protect property owners from our fiscally irresponsible elected officials and their cronies.]

This editorial was reprinted with permission from its author and CityWatch.  Jack Humphreville writes L.A. Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is also a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:

[Editor’s Comment: If Proposition 15 passes, it would not only hurt business in California and leave no other choice but to increase pricing for goods and services in order to “cover” significant property tax increases, it is only a matter of time before a similar ballot measure is proposed to reassess residential properties.  Do not be fooled.  This is merely the camel peaking underneath the tent.]

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