Local real-estate tax hike totals less than a half percent

Reassessed properties may be excluded from low rate rise

Even though real estate prices have soared in the past year — rising by an average of 18.29 percent across the county, according to the market-tracking firm DataQuick — most property owners in San Diego can expect a property-tax increase that barely registers as significant, county assessor Ernie Dronenburg announced on December 11.

California's Proposition 13, passed in 1978, limits the increase in tax on a continuously owned piece of real estate to the lesser of 2 percent per year or an amount equivalent to the current inflation rate. Proponents of the law have long championed it as a means of preventing the elderly from being priced out of their homes; detractors say its primary beneficiaries are large corporate landholders and that the law effectively starves local municipalities of funds.

"I campaigned in 1978 when Proposition 13 passed," said Dronenburg via release. "I support it because it limits value growth and in turn limits the unabated growth in taxes. The inflation rate for 2013 is less than one half of one percent," he continued, stating that property taxes will rise only 0.454 percent for parcels across the county.

Dronenburg said the increase is the second-lowest increase in the law's 35-year history and only the eighth time inflation has lagged the 2 percent threshold.

One segment of the population that may be excluded from the low-rate hike, however, are owners who petitioned the assessor's office during the recent real estate crash to have their properties re-assessed to a value below the base rate established by Prop 13 because they purchased during the bubble period of the early 2000s. Those owners will see their tax base increased back to its original base or to the total current estimated value, whichever is less.

The rate of inflation used is a statewide figure calculated by the California Department of Industrial Relations, which publishes an annual California Consumer Price Index (CCPI), tracking inflation from December 1 of the previous year through November 30.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


This "inflation rate" increase is laughable. Does anyone reading this comment believe it is that low? Look at all the increases you see at the supermarket, and you know that it has to be higher than that. During the 70's, the way the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was calculated resulted in an overstatement of the real rate of consumer inflation, and that in turn resulted in rapid growth in inflation-indexed things like Social Security. In the 80's, after the real inflation had cooled, the feds redesigned the CPI to be more reflective of reality, or so it was claimed. In the process, fluctuations in energy and food were excluded, based on the claim that they fluctuate without really changing. Huh? So, the price of gasoline, which has doubled in less than a decade is not included.

Whereas this recalculation was intended to save money for the feds, it does have its unintended consequences, and this is one of those. The county and cities would love to have more funds to play with, fritter away on pet projects, and use to overpay their underworked employees. I'm surprised that there hasn't been a huge howl from all sectors of government about this.

This is what we always here about tax increases. "Oh, it's only a little bit!" Well, so was the last one, and the one before that, and the one before THAT. And so will the next one, and the one after that, and the one after THAT.

I wish the voters were smart enough to quit gulping partisan Kool-Aid long enough to simply agree that government must live within it's means, just like every one of us. We can't go to our bosses and demand a higher salary because we've been spending more. We'd get fired. So should the bureaucrats.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader