Newsom: Prop. 13 to blame for high taxes. Actual evidence: Not.

"...after 13 took effect, total property tax revenue increased 503 percent."

Why does California have the nation's highest sales and income tax rates? Gavin Newsom says it's all Prop. 13's fault!

Newsom told the audience members they were paying for Proposition 13 in the highest income taxes in the nation and the high and regressive sales tax.

Oh, really, Gavin? To recycle a past post, let's look at the actual numbers from

Fiscal Year Property Tax Levies
1980-81 $6.36 billion
1986-87 $11.13 billion
1996-97 $19.73 billion
2000-01 $24.77 billion
2005-06 $38.34 billion

So since just after 13 took effect, total property tax revenue increased 503 percent. During the same span, population went from 24 million to 38 milion -- an increase of 58 percent. And over the same time span as the revenue data above, the Consumer Price Index -- which gauges inflation -- went from 88 to 203, a 131 percent increase.

So property tax revenue has gone up by more than double the combined rate of population increase and inflation since Prop. 13 took effect.

Yo, Gavin, is the limited cap on property tax hikes REALLY why we have to have such high sales and income tax rates? Or is it, yunno, the obvious? The sharp increase in state spending?

Look at the state Department of Finance chart for yourself.

In the same 1980-81 to 2005-06 period as for the other data, general fund spending went from $20.9 billion to $91.6 billion -- a 338 percent increase that is also vastly higher than the combined population growth and inflation during that period.

For Gavin Newsom to say Prop. 13 is more responsible for high taxes than heavy spending is a) factually challenged; b) really, really dumb; and c) just what many 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary voters want to hear.

But if he somehow makes it to the general election, I doubt most voters will nod their heads in agreement when he gives his wacky Prop. 13 analysis. They understand the state has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. And the numbers back them up.
Posted by Chris Reed at March 19, 2009 10:33 AM