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Menlo Park mom wonders: Who wins with Prop 13?

Original post made on Mar 24, 2010

Menlo Park resident Jennifer Bestor had long heard many arguments for and against Proposition 13, passed in 1978 to control rapidly rising property taxes in the state.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 19, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (4)

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Posted by Chris
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Repeal prop 13! Well, at least fix the commercial property side of it.


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Posted by Dennis
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:41 am

If Ms. Bestor is a "life-long Republican" why are her only campaign contributions the past several years to Democrats? A simple search on OpenSecrets.org shows her donations to a DNC group, John Kerry and Barrack Obama, not donations a "life long Republican" makes. So her letter is deceptive. It is also ignorant. Ignored are the payroll taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and business licenses and fees paid as a result of the commercial properties. Ignored is the growth in number of residential housing units in the area that increased the number of parcels paying property taxes in the past 30 years. Ignored are the taxes by new commercial developments in the area, instead she conveniently cherry picks certain parcels to try to prove her falacious argument. Bestor appears to be another tax and spend liberal with no knowledge of the relationship between taxes, employment, and government spending. Instead of trying to over turn Prop 13 she should go to her supposed Republican roots and support candidates that would cut Sacramento's spending. She did not mention her city, and our state, are broke because the Democratic controlled legislature doubled spending and the budget from 1998 to 2008 when Prop 13 tax revenues were pouring into the treasuries.


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Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Dennis, Well, why do you think a life-long (check the voter rolls) Republican's campaign contributions have been to Democratic candidates over the past few years? Any chance that life-long Republicans might think that "tax-cut and spend" is not fiscal conservatism? That gutting and defanging oversight boards of federally insured industries is not sound financial management? That going to war in Iraq 'off' balance sheet was irresponsible?

And sorry you think I'm ignorant. Can you tell me how it is that businesses pay sales taxes without customers? I sure thought it was me paying that tax. Do I get to take it off my bill next time and tell the merchant to pay his own tax? Or are you talking about the sales tax that a business pays on its own purchases?

And can you explain the difference in payroll, income and business license taxes paid by businesses in properties bought in the last ten years (i.e., full assessed value, full tax) vs. those in properties bought over 30 years ago (i.e., paying one fifth the property tax of their competitors')?

Do you even know which property is which? Most people can't tell. I was sure surprised as I found old businesses in properties with new bases (our iconic Golden Shears) and new businesses in properties with old assessed bases (Miyo Yogurt -- just opened three weeks ago, fabulous mix-ins).

And, finally, which new commercial developments in the area did I ignore? Indeed, I dutifully included the Glenwood Inn for Seniors (which had been exempt property and is paying a lot of tax -- lest seniors always be blamed), I noted that Menlo Center (housing Kepler's -- our beloved bookstore) is ponying up $200K+ a year), ... indeed, if I missed a commercial development in our school district, so did the Assessor.

So, yes, the Almanac chose a small number of facts to print out of the landslide I provided them with -- including the fact that, in all the Menlo Park City School District parcels that I analyzed, the percentage drop was from 20% to 9% for commercial parcel tax contribution. But I was looking at total assessed land and improvements value -- not number of parcels. And these were facts. And they are germane to the discussion of property tax.

If you want to fix government spending and pensions, go for it! Go do it, Dennis. I salute you. I'll fix revenue, if you'll fix spending. Between us, we might just create a stronger state with a fair and productive business climate.


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Posted by Bob Holmgren
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Bestor is concerned about short changing Menlo Park schools, which is odd considering that construction never stopped in any of the MP schools my children went to between kindergarten and high school graduation. And the construction continues as witness the Encinal and Hillview construction projects not to mention the recently completed and hideously designed MA Performing Arts Center. My guess is with the repeal of prop 13 Democrats like Bestor will never find enough money to spend until they've succeeded in driving every business from California.


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