The Realtor Party® & CA 2020 Proposition 13

By Guidant Realty on 2/26/2020

Realtors nationwide promote and protect the American Dream of home ownership through extensive advocacy and lobbying. This year's California ballot propositions and their marketing will be confusing and misleading, especially "Proposition 13". This will help you become more reliably informed...

THE REALTOR® PARTY & CA 2020 Proposition 13

It is no secret that politics have drastically devolved from spirited policy discussions to little more than staged "reality TV".   Misleading statements, intentionally inappropriate data references, and character assassination have become the accepted norm and somehow "working with the other side" is now a bad thing.  At Guidant Realty, we are proud to call ourselves Realtors®.  For us, the passion is around making a differnce in the lives of those around us.  However, most don't know that Realtors® don't just sell homes - as a group we actively try to keep the American Dream alive through extensive political advocacy.  While most have missed the reference in the current "That's Who We R" advertising campaign, that small legislative reference is reflective of millions of dollars spent each year nationally and locally to try and keep home ownership from becoming the collateral damage of modern American politics.

The nation has "Democrats" and "Republicans", and yes, a host of "Independents" of different pholosophies.  However, for the purposes of our trade, we have created the "Realtor® Party".  Since the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) hired its first lobbyist in 1973, America’s largest trade association has been working together to advance public policies and candidates that build strong communities, protect property interests and promote a vibrant business environment. In 2010-2011, NAR ramped up its efforts at the state and local levels by launching the REALTOR® Party Initiative.  As the only advocacy group in America that fights exclusively for homeownership, real estate investment, strong communities and the free enterprise system, the REALTOR® Party is not focused on the right, left or even the middle of the aisle; it is focused on the issues that matter to existing and future homeowners and the real estate industry.

Guidant Realty's Broker, John Hughes, is a legislative Key Contact on behalf of the California Association of Realtors (CAR) and ultimately the general public, actively lobbying to protect ownership rights and opportunities at the office of Senator Brian Dahle.  That gives Guidant Realty the rare opportunity to see the real issues and consequences behind the curtain of political misdirection.  There are a lot of accusations in social media that CAR and its members are only focused on making more commissions.  As a member of the Board of Directors at CAR, John will tell you in unequivocal terms that doing the right thing for the general public is always the top priority and that part of almost every sensitive topic is how to keep a path to home ownership alive for everyday Americans.  In fact, CAR is investing millions in a pilot project at the location of its current headquarters in Los Angeles, in an effort to prove a model to the California legislature that will enable lower income Californians and veterans to still have access to the American Dream.

2020 in California is shaping up to be an extremely active year in home ownership issues.  Of particular importance are attacks on the 1978 ballot initiative infamously known as "Prop 13".  It appears that multiple suggestions to make alterations to that measure will be on the California ballot in November.  One of those will come from CAR in an attempt to end unintended corporate abuses and has recently been submitted with the most signatures ever gathered in California history to put an initiative on the California ballot (1,455,836 signatures!).  Two other competing versions will attempt to change the law in a way that CAR believes will have drastically negative effects on California small businesses - a discussion for later this year when all ballot-qualified initiatives are known.

In the meantime, California is confronted with an all-new "Prop 13" on it's primary ballot next Tuesday, March 3. This measure would authorize $15 billion in general obligation bonds for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC) facilities and $9 billion for Preschool to Grade 12 school facilities as follows: i) $2.8 billion for new construction; ii) $5.2 billion for modernization; iii) $500 million for charter schools; and, iv) $500 million for career technical education, $2 billion for the UC and the Hastings College of the Law, $2 billion for the CSU, and $2 billion for community college facilities.

According to the fiscal analysis from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, this general obligation bond amount of $15 billion, could result in total principal and interest costs of $26 billion (i.e., $15 billion in principal and $11 billion in interest), with annual General Fund costs of about $740 million per year for 35 years. This amount is about one-half of 1 percent of the state’s current General Fund budget.  Proponents argue that it will bring much needed repairs of existing infrastructure and also allow for more construction of new buildings in some of these schools.  Opponents of the measure argue that while the state needs new schools, Governor Newsom has already declared that California is fiscally sound and it does not need to accumulate more debt for taxpayers.  Furthermore, in order for districts to take advantage of the bond funds, matching funds will typically be required which could require the imposition of property assessments by the local government.

Of important note is that proposition numbers recycle each decade and that this year's "California Prop 13" actually has no relation to the 1978 version we regularly discuss with regards to our our property tax values.  This has lead to some misleading alarm over the current initiative.  Officially, the California Association of Realtors has taken a "Neutral" position with regards to this particular issue.  However, hopefully the straight facts above will enable you to make your own informed opinion and to vote your own conscience without misdirection, whichever that way may be.  At Guidant Realty, we are here to inform our clients and followers so they make the best decisions for themselves.  Never hesitate to call and ask for any real estate oriented help, whether it has to do with a transaction or simply something peripheral.  As an ongoing resource, we would also like to share the legislative CAR website for protecting home ownership: www.housingforcalifornia.com.

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