Perspectives of the Property Tax Forty Years after Proposition 13

30 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019

See all articles by Robert W. Wassmer

Robert W. Wassmer

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems; Michigan State University - Department of Economics

Zachary Kuloszewski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 1, 2019

Abstract

We use results from the December 2016 CalSpeaks Survey to assess citizen understanding about how the property tax functions and the distributional impact of the tax. Key issues include (1) do California citizens today understand the provisions of Proposition 13 and the implications for how the property tax operates in California, and (2) given that knowledge, what is the perspective of California residents about the income incidence (progressivity) of the property tax. The survey results reveal weak current understanding of the tax rate limitations of Proposition 13 and a resulting overestimate of actual property tax payments. Only about one third of residents believe that the property tax is progressive (i.e. a greater percentage of income for a typical high-income person), with robust evidence that greater knowledge of the basic elements of Proposition 13 (fixed rate and method of assessment) increases the likelihood of belief that the property is progressive.

Keywords: Property Tax, Perception, Progressivity, Proposition 13

JEL Classification: H71, H27, R51

Suggested Citation

Wassmer, Robert William and Fisher, Ronald C. and Kuloszewski, Zachary, Perspectives of the Property Tax Forty Years after Proposition 13 (March 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3434005 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3434005

Robert William Wassmer (Contact Author)

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration ( email )

Sacramento, CA 95819-6081
United States
916-278-6304 (Phone)
916-278-6544 (Fax)

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States
517-355-2326 (Phone)

Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0293 (Phone)

Zachary Kuloszewski

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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